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                                 by Jules Verne
                             PART I.

                           CHAPTER I.

                        A SHIFTING REEF.

    THE year 1866 was signalized by a remarkable incident, a
mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet
forgotten. Not to mention rumors which agitated the maritime
population, and excited the public mind, even in the interior of
continents, seafaring men were particularly excited. Merchants, common
sailors, captains of vessels, skippers, both of Europe and America,
naval officers of all countries, and the Governments of several states
on the two continents, were deeply interested in the matter.
    For some time past, vessels had been met by "an enormous thing," a
long object, spindle-shaped, occasionally phosphorescent, and
infinitely larger and more rapid in its movements than a whale.
    The facts relating to this apparition (entered in various log
books) agreed in most respects as to the shape of the object or
creature in question, the untiring rapidity of its movements, its
surprising power of locomotion, and the peculiar life with which it
seemed endowed. If it was a cetacean, it surpassed in size all those
hitherto classified in science. Taking into consideration the mean
of observations made at divers times- rejecting the timid estimate
of those who assigned to this object a length of two hundred feet,
equally with the exaggerated opinions which set it down as a mile in
width and three in length- we might fairly conclude that this
mysterious being surpassed greatly all dimensions admitted by the
ichthyologists of the day, if it existed at all. And that it did exist
was an undeniable fact; and, with that tendency which disposes the
human mind in favor of the marvelous, we can understand the excitement
produced in the entire world by this supernatural apparition. As to
classing it in the list of fables, the idea was out of the question.
    July 20, 1866, the steamer Governor Higginson, of the Calcutta and
Burnach Steam Navigation Company, had met this moving mass five
miles off the east coast of Australia. Captain Baker thought at
first that he was in the presence of an unknown sand bank; he even
prepared to determine its exact position, when two columns of water,
projected by the inexplicable object, shot with a hissing noise a
hundred fifty feet up into the air. Now, unless the sand bank had been
submitted to the intermittent eruption of a geyser, the Governor
Higginson had to do neither more nor less than with an aquatic mammal,
unknown till then, which threw up from its blowholes columns of
water mixed with air and vapor.
    Similar facts were observed on July 23 in the same year, in the
Pacific Ocean, by the Columbus, of the West India and Pacific Steam
Navigation Company. But this extraordinary cetaceous creature could
transport itself from one place to another with surprising velocity;
as, in an interval of three days, the Governor Higginson and the
Columbus had observed it at two different points of the chart,
separated by a distance of more than seven hundred nautical leagues.
    Fifteen days later, two thousand miles farther off, the
Helvetia, of the Compagnie-Nationale, and the Shannon, of the Royal
Mail Steamship Company, sailing to windward in that portion of the
Atlantic lying between the United States and Europe, respectively
signaled the monster to each other in 42 degrees 15' N. latitude and
60 degrees 35' W. longitude. In these simultaneous observations,
they thought themselves justified in estimating the minimum length
of the mammal at more than three hundred fifty feet, as the Shannon
and Helvetia were of smaller dimensions than it, though they
measured three hundred feet over all.
    Now the largest whales, those which frequent those parts of the
sea round the Aleutian, Kulammak, and Umgullich islands, have never
exceeded the length of sixty yards, if they attain that.
    These reports arriving one after the other, with fresh
observations made on board the transatlantic ship Pereira, a collision
which occurred between the Etna of the Inman line and the monster, a
proces verbal directed by the officers of the French frigate
Normandie, a very accurate survey made by the staff of Commodore
Fitz-James on board the Lord Clyde, greatly influenced public opinion.
Light thinking people jested upon the phenomenon, but grave
practical countries, such as England, America, and Germany, treated
the matter more seriously.
    In every place of great resort the monster was the fashion. They
sang of it in the cafes, ridiculed it in the papers, and represented
it on the stage. All kinds of stories were circulated regarding it.
There appeared in the papers caricatures of every gigantic and
imaginary creature, from the white whale, the terrible "Moby Dick"
of hyperborean regions, to the immense kraken whose tentacles could
entangle a ship of five hundred tons, and hurry it into the abyss of
the ocean. The legends of ancient times were even resuscitated, and
the opinions of Aristotle and Pliny revived, who admitted the
existence of these monsters, as well as the Norwegian tales of
Bishop Pontoppidan, the accounts of Paul Heggede, and, last of all,
the reports of Mr. Harrington (whose good faith no one could suspect),
who affirmed that, being on board the Castillan, in 1857, he had
seen this enormous serpent, which had never until that time frequented
any other seas but those of the ancient Constitutionel.
    Then burst forth the interminable controversy between the
credulous and the incredulous in the societies of savants and
scientific journals. "The question of the monster" inflamed all minds.
Editors of scientific journals, quarreling with believers in the
supernatural, spilled seas of ink during this memorable campaign, some
even drawing blood; for, from the sea serpent, they came to direct
    For six months war was waged with various fortune in the leading
articles of the Geographical Institution of Brazil, the Royal
Academy of Science of Berlin, the British Association, the Smithsonian
Institution of Washington, in the discussions of the "Indian
Archipelago," in le Cosmos of the Abbe Moigno, in the Mitteilungen
of Petermann, in the scientific chronicles of the great journals of
France and other countries. The cheaper journals replied keenly and
with inexhaustible zest. These satirical writers parodied a remark
of Linnaeus, quoted by the adversaries of the monster, maintaining
"that nature did not make fools," and adjured their contemporaries not
to give the lie to nature, by admitting the existence of krakens,
sea serpents, "Moby Dicks," and other lucubrations of delirious
sailors. At length an article in a well-known satirical journal by a
favorite contributor, the chief of the staff, settled the monster,
like Hippolytus, giving it the death blow amidst a universal burst
of laughter. Wit had conquered science.
    During the first months of the year 1867, the question seemed
buried never to revive, when new facts were brought before the public.
It was then no longer a scientific problem to be solved, but a real
danger seriously to be avoided. The question took quite another shape.
The monster became a small island, a rock, a reef, but a reef of
indefinite and shifting proportions.
    On March 5, 1867, the Moravian, of the Montreal Ocean Company,
finding herself during the night in 27 degrees 30' latitude and 72
degrees 15' longitude, struck on her starboard quarter a rock,
marked in no chart for that part of the sea. Under the combined
efforts of the wind and its four hundred horse power, it was going
at the rate of thirteen knots. Had it not been for the superior
strength of the hull of the Moravian, she would have been broken by
the shock, and gone down with the 237 passengers she was bringing home
from Canada.
    The accident happened about five o'clock in the morning, as the
day was breaking. The officers of the quarterdeck hurried to the after
part of the vessel. They examined the sea with the most scrupulous
attention. They saw nothing but a strong eddy about three cables'
length distant, as if the surface had been violently agitated. The
bearings of the place were taken exactly, and the Moravian continued
its route without apparent damage. Had it struck on a submerged
rock, or on an enormous wreck? They could not tell; but on examination
of the ship's bottom when undergoing repairs, it was found that part
of her keel was broken.
    This fact, so grave in itself, might perhaps have been forgotten
like many others, if, three weeks after, it had not been reenacted
under similar circumstances. But, thanks to the nationality of the
victim of the shock, thanks to the reputation of the company to
which the vessel belonged, the circumstance became extensively
    April 13, 1867, the sea being beautiful, the breeze favorable, the
Scotia of the Cunard Company's line found herself in 15 degrees 12'
longitude and 45 degrees 37' latitude. She was going at the speed of
thirteen and a half knots.
    At seventeen minutes past four in the afternoon, while the
passengers were assembled at lunch in the great saloon, a slight shock
was felt on the hull of the Scotia, on her quarter, a little aft of
the port paddle.
    The Scotia had not struck, but she had been struck, and
seemingly by something rather sharp and penetrating than blunt. The
shock had been so slight that no one had been alarmed, had it not been
for the shouts of the carpenter's watch, who rushed on to the
bridge, exclaiming, "We are sinking! we are sinking!" At first the
passengers were much frightened, but Captain Anderson hastened to
reassure them. The danger could not be imminent. The Scotia, divided
into seven compartments by strong partitions, could brave with
impunity any leak. Captain Anderson went down immediately into the
hold. He found that the sea was pouring into the fifth compartment;
and the rapidity of the influx proved that the force of the water
was considerable. Fortunately this compartment did not hold the
boilers, or the fires would have been immediately extinguished.
Captain Anderson ordered the engines to be stopped at once, and one of
the men went down to ascertain the extent of the injury. Some
minutes afterwards they discovered the existence of a large hole of
two yards in diameter, in the ship's bottom. Such, a leak could not be
stopped; and the Scotia, her paddles half submerged, was obliged to
continue her course. She was then three hundred miles from Cape Clear,
and after three days' delay, which caused great uneasiness in
Liverpool, she entered the basin of the company.
    The engineers visited the Scotia, which was put in dry dock.
They could scarcely believe it possible; at two yards and a half below
watermark was a regular rent, in the form of an isosceles triangle.
The broken place in the iron plates was so perfectly defined, that
it could not have been more neatly done by a punch. It was clear,
then, that the instrument producing the perforation was not of a
common stamp; and after having been driven with prodigious strength,
and piercing an iron plate 1 3/8 inches thick, had withdrawn itself by
a retrograde motion truly inexplicable.
    Such was the last fact, which resulted in exciting once more
the torrent of public opinion. From this moment all unlucky
casualties which could not be otherwise accounted for were put down to
the monster.
    Upon this imaginary creature rested the responsibility of all
these shipwrecks, which unfortunately were considerable; for of
three thousand ships whose loss was annually recorded at Lloyds, the
number of sailing and steam ships supposed to be totally lost, from
the absence of an news, amounted to not less than two hundred!
    Now, it was the "monster" who, justly or unjustly, was accused
of their disappearance, and, thanks to it, communication between the
different continents became more and more dangerous. The public
demanded peremptorily that the seas should at any price be relieved
from this formidable cetacean.
                           CHAPTER II.

                          PRO AND CON.

    AT THE period when these events took place, I had just returned
from a scientific research in the disagreeable territory of
Nebraska, in the United States. In virtue of my office as Assistant
Professor in the Museum of Natural History in Paris, the French
Government had attached me to that expedition. After six months in
Nebraska, I arrived in New York toward the end of March, laden with
a precious collection. My departure for France was fixed for the first
days in May. Meanwhile, I was occupying myself in classifying my
mineralogical, botanical, and zoological riches, when the accident
happened to the Scotia.
    I was perfectly up in the subject which was the question of the
day. How could I be otherwise? I had and re-read all the American
and European papers without being any nearer a conclusion. This
mystery puzzled me. Under the impossibility of forming an opinion, I
jumped from one extreme to the other. That there really was
something could not be doubted, and the incredulous were invited to
put their finger on the wound of the Scotia.
    On my arrival at New York, the question was at its height. The
hypothesis of the floating island, and the unapproachable sand bank,
supported by minds little competent to form a judgment, was abandoned.
And, indeed, unless this shoal had a machine in its stomach, how could
it change its position with such astonishing rapidity?
    From the same cause, the idea of a floating hull of an enormous
wreck was given up.
    There remained then only two possible solutions of the question,
which created two distinct parties: on one side, those who were for
a monster of colossal strength; on the other, those who were for a
submarine vessel of enormous motive power.
    But this last hypothesis, plausible as it was, could not stand
against inquiries made in both worlds. That a private gentleman should
have such a machine at his command was not likely. Where, when, and
how was it built? How could its construction have been kept secret?
Certainly a Government might possess such a destructive machine. And
in these disastrous times, when the ingenuity of man has multiplied
the power of weapons of war, it was possible that, without the
knowledge of others, a state might try to work such a formidable
engine. After the chassepots came the torpedoes, after the torpedoes
the submarine rams, then the reaction. At least, I hope so.
    But the hypothesis of a war machine fell before the declaration of
Governments. As public interest was question, and transatlantic
communications suffered, their veracity could not be doubted. But, how
admit that the construction of this submarine boat had escaped the
public eye? For a private gentleman to keep the secret under such
circumstances would be very difficult, and for a state whose every act
is persistently watched by powerful rivals, certainly impossible.
    After inquiries made in England, France, Russia, Prussia, Spain,
Italy, and America, even in Turkey, the hypothesis of a submarine
monitor was definitely rejected.
    Upon my arrival in New York, several persons did me the honor of
consulting me on the phenomenon in question. I had published in France
a work in quarto, in two volumes, entitled, Mysteries of the Great
Submarine Grounds. This book, highly approved of in the learned world,
gained for me a special reputation in this rather obscure branch of
natural history. My advice was asked. As long as I could deny the
reality of the fact, I confined myself to a decided negative. But soon
finding myself driven into a corner, I was obliged to explain myself
categorically. And even "the Honorable Pierre Aronnax, Professor in
the Museum of Paris," was called upon by the New York Herald to
express a definite opinion of some sort. I did something. I spoke, for
want of power to hold my tongue. I discussed the question in all its
forms, politically and scientifically; and I give here an extract from
a carefully studied article which I published in the number of April
30. It ran as follows:
    "After examining one by one the different hypotheses, rejecting
all other suggestions, it becomes necessary to admit the existence
of a marine animal of enormous power.
    "The great depths of the ocean are entirely unknown to us.
Soundings cannot reach them. What passes in those remote depths-
what beings live, or can live, twelve or fifteen miles beneath the
surface of the waters- what is the organization of these animals, we
can scarcely conjecture. However, the solution of the problem
submitted to me may modify the form of the dilemma. Either we do
know all the varieties of beings which people our planet, or we do
not. If we do not know them all- if Nature has still secrets in
ichthyology for us, nothing is more conformable to reason than to
admit the existence of fishes, or cetaceans- of other kinds, or even
of new species, of an organization formed to inhabit the strata
inaccessible to soundings, and which an accident of some sort,
either fantastical or capricious, has brought at long intervals to the
upper level of the ocean.
    "If, on the contrary we do know all living kinds, we must
necessarily seek for the animal in question amongst those marine
beings already classed; and, in that case, I should be disposed to
admit the existence of a gigantic narwhal.
    "The common narwhal, or unicorn of the sea, often attains a length
of sixty feet. Increase its size fivefold or tenfold, give it strength
proportionate to its size, lengthen its destructive weapons, and you
obtain the animal required. It will have the proportions determined by
the officers of the Shannon, the instrument required by the
perforation of the Scotia, and the power necessary to pierce the
hull of the steamer.
    "Indeed the narwhal is armed with a sort of ivory sword, a
halberd, according to the expression of certain naturalists. The
principal tusk has the hardness of steel. Some of these tusks have
been found buried in the bodies of whales, which the unicorn always
attacks with success. Others have been drawn out, not without trouble,
from the bottom of ships, which they had pierced through and
through, as a gimlet pierces a barrel. The Museum of the Faculty of
Medicine of Paris possesses one of these defensive weapons, two
yards and a quarter in length, and fifteen inches in diameter at the
    "Very well! suppose this weapon to be six times stronger, and
the animal ten times more powerful; launch it at the rate of twenty
miles an hour, and you obtain a shock capable of producing the
catastrophe required. Until further information, therefore, I shall
maintain it to be a sea unicorn of colossal dimensions, armed, not
with a halberd, but with a real spur, as the armored frigates, or
the "rams" of war, whose massiveness and motive power it would possess
at the same time. Thus may this inexplicable phenomenon be
explained, unless there be something over and above all that one has
ever conjectured, seen, perceived, or experienced; which is just
within the bounds of possibility."
    These last words were cowardly on my part; but, up to a certain
point, I wished to shelter my dignity as professor, and not give too
much cause for laughter to the Americans, who laugh well when they
do laugh. I reserved for myself a way of escape. In effect, however, I
admitted the existence of the "monster." My article was warmly
discussed, which procured it a high reputation. It rallied round it
a certain number of partisans. The solution it proposed gave, at
least, full liberty to the imagination. The human mind delights in
grand conceptions of supernatural beings. And the sea is precisely
their best vehicle, the only medium through which these giants
(against which terrestrial animals, such as elephants or rhinoceroses,
are as nothing) can be produced or developed.
    The industrial and commercial papers treated the question
chiefly from this point of view. The Shipping and Mercantile
Gazette, the Lloyds' List, the Packet Boat, and the Maritime and
Colonial Review, all papers devoted to insurance companies which
threatened to raise their rates of premium, were unanimous on this
point. Public opinion had been pronounced. The United States was the
first in the field; and in New York they made preparations for an
expedition destined to pursue this narwhal. A frigate of great
speed, the Abraham Lincoln, was put in commission as soon as possible.
The arsenals were opened to Commander Farragut, who hastened the
arming of his frigate; but, as it always happens, the moment it was
decided to pursue the monster, the monster did not appear. For two
months no one heard it spoken of. No ship met with it. It seemed as if
this unicorn knew of the plots weaving around it. It had been so
much talked of, even through the Atlantic cable, that jesters
pretended that this slender fly had stopped a telegram on its passage,
and was making the most of it.
    So when the frigate had been armed for a long campaign, and
provided with formidable fishing apparatus, no one could tell what
course to pursue. Impatience grew apace, when, on July 2, they learned
that a steamer of the line of San Francisco, from California to
Shanghai, had seen the animal three weeks before in the North
Pacific Ocean. The excitement caused by this news was extreme. The
ship was revictualed and well stocked with coal.
    Three hours before the Abraham Lincoln left Brooklyn pier, I
received a letter worded as follows:

  "To M. ARONNAX, Professor in the Museum of Paris,
       "Fifth Avenue Hotel, New York.
    "Sir: If you will consent to join the Abraham Lincoln in this
expedition, the Government of the United States will with pleasure see
France represented in the enterprise. Commander Farragut has a cabin
at your disposal. Very cordially yours,
                                        "J. B. HOBSON,
                                          "Secretary of Marine."
                          CHAPTER III.

                      I FORM MY RESOLUTION.

    THREE seconds before the arrival of J. B. Hobson's letter, I no
more thought of pursuing the unicorn than of attempting the passage of
the North Sea. Three seconds after reading the letter of the honorable
Secretary of Marine, I felt that my true vocation, the sole end of
my life, was to chase this disturbing monster, and purge it from the
    But I had just returned from a fatiguing journey, weary and
longing for repose. I aspired to nothing more than again seeing my
country, my friends, my little lodging ing by the Jardins des
Plants, my dear and precious collections. But nothing could keep me
back! I forgot all- fatigue, friends, and collections- and accepted
without hesitation the offer of the American Government. "Besides,"
thought I, "all roads lead back to Europe; and the unicorn may be
amiable enough to hurry me toward the coast of France. This worthy
animal may allow itself to be caught in the seas of Europe (for my
particular benefit), and I will not bring back less than half a yard
of his ivory halberd to the Museum of Natural History." But in the
meanwhile I must seek this narwhal in the North Pacific Ocean,
which, to return to France, was taking the road to the antipodes.
    "Conseil," I called, in an impatient voice.
    Conseil was my servant, a true, devoted Flemish boy, who had
accompanied me in all my travels. I liked him, and he returned the
liking well. He was phlegmatic by nature, regular from principle,
zealous from habit, evincing little disturbance at the different
surprises of life, very quick with his hands, and apt at any service
required of him; and, despite his name, never giving advice- even when
asked for it.
    Conseil had followed me for the last ten years wherever science
led. Never once did he complain of the length or fatigue of a journey,
never make an objection to pack his portmanteau for whatever country
it might be, or however far away, whether China or the Congo.
Besides all this, he had good health, which defied all sickness, and
solid muscles, but no nerves; good morals are understood. This boy was
thirty years old, and his age to that of his master as fifteen to
twenty. May I be excused for saying that I was forty years old?
    But Conseil had one fault, he was ceremonious to a degree, and
would never speak to me but in the third person, which was sometimes
    "Conseil," said I again, beginning with feverish hands to make
preparations for my departure.
    Certainly I was sure of this devoted boy. As a rule, I never asked
him if it were convenient for him or not to follow. me in my
travels; but this time the expedition in question might be
prolonged, and the enterprise might be hazardous in pursuit of an
animal capable of sinking a frigate as easily as a nutshell. Here
there was matter for reflection even to the most impassive man in
the world. What would Conseil say?
    "Conseil," I called a third time.
    Conseil appeared
    "Did you call, Sir?" said he, entering.
    "Yes, my boy; make preparations for me and yourself too. We
leave in two hours."
    "As you please, Sir," replied Conseil, quietly.
    "Not an instant to lose; lock in my trunk all traveling
untensils coats, shirts, and stockings without counting, as many as
you can, and make haste."
    "And your collections, Sir?" observed Conseil.
    "We will think of them by and by."
    "What! the archiotherium, the hyracotherium, the oreodons,
cheropotamus, and the other skins?"
    "They will keep them at the hotel."
    "And your live Babiroussa, Sir?"
    "They will feed it during our absence; besides, I will give orders
to forward our menagerie to France."
    "We are not returning to Paris, then?" said Conseil.
    "Oh! certainly," I answered, evasively, "by making a curve."
    "Will the curve please you, Sir?"
    "Oh! it will be nothing; not quite so direct a road, that is
all. We take our passage in the Abraham Lincoln."
    "As you think proper, Sir," coolly replied Conseil.
    "You see, my friend, it has to do with the monster, the famous
narwhal. We are going to purge it from the seas. The author of a
work in quarto, in two volumes, on the Mysteries of the Great
Submarine Grounds cannot forbear embarking with Commander Farragut.
A glorious mission, but a dangerous one! We cannot tell where we may
go; these animals can be very capricious. But we will go whether or
no; we have got a captain who is pretty wide-awake."
    I opened a credit account for Babiroussa, and, Conseil
following, I jumped into a cab. Our luggage was transported to the
deck of the frigate immediately. I hastened on board and asked for
Commander Farragut. One of the sailors conducted me to the poop, where
I found myself in the presence of a good-looking officer, who held
out, his hand to me.
    "Monsieur Pierre Aronnax?" said he.
    "Himself," replied I; "Commander Farragut?"
    "You are welcome, Professor; your cabin is ready for you."
    I bowed, and desired to be conducted to the cabin destined for me.
    The Abraham Lincoln had been well chosen and equipped for her
new destination. She was a frigate of great speed, fitted with
high-pressure engines which admitted a pressure of seven
atmospheres. Under this the Abraham Lincoln attained the mean speed of
nearly eighteen and a third knots an hour- a considerable speed,
but, nevertheless, insufficient to grapple with this gigantic
    The interior arrangements. of the frigate corresponded to its
nautical qualities. I was well satisfied with my cabin, which was in
the after part, opening upon the gun room.
    "We shall be well off here," said I to Conseil.
    "As well, by your honor's leave, as a hermit crab in the shell
of a whelk," said Conseil.
    I left Conseil to stow our trunks conveniently away, and remounted
the poop in order to survey the preparations for departure.
    At that moment Commander Farragut was ordering the last moorings
to be cast loose which held the Abraham Lincoln to the pier of
Brooklyn. So in a quarter of an hour, perhaps less, the frigate
would have sailed without me. I should have missed this extraordinary,
supernatural, and incredible expedition, the recital of which may well
meet with some scepticism.
    But Commander Farragut would not lose a day nor an hour in
scouring the seas in which the animal had been sighted. He sent for
the engineer.
    "Is the steam full on?" asked he.
    "Yes, sir," replied the engineer.
    "Go ahead," cried Commander Farragut.
    The quay of Brooklyn, and all that part of New York bordering on
the East River, was crowded with spectators. Three cheers burst
successively from five hundred thousand throats; thousands of
handkerchiefs were waved above the heads of the compact mass, saluting
the Abraham Lincoln, until she reached the waters of the Hudson, at
the point of that elongated peninsula which forms the town of New
York. Then the frigate, following the coast of New Jersey along the
right bank of the beautiful river, covered with villas, passed between
the forts, which saluted her with their heaviest guns. The Abraham
Lincoln answered by hoisting the American colors three times, whose
thirty-nine stars shone resplendent from the mizzen peak; then
modifying its speed to take the narrow channel marked by buoys
placed in the inner bay formed by Sandy Hook Point, it coasted the
long sandy beach, where some thousands of spectators gave it one final
cheer. The escort of boats and tenders still followed the frigate, and
did not leave her until they came abreast of the lightship, whose
two lights marked the entrance of the New York channel.
    Six bells struck, the pilot got into his boat, and rejoined the
little schooner which was waiting under our lee, the fires were made
up, the screw beat the waves more rapidly, the frigate skirted the low
yellow coast of Long Island; and at eight bells, after having lost
sight in the northwest of the lights of Fire Island, she ran at full
steam on to the dark waters of the Atlantic.
                           CHAPTER IV.

                            NED LAND.

    CAPTAIN FARRAGUT was a good seaman, worthy of the frigate he
commanded. His vessel and he were one. He was the soul of it. On the
question of the cetacean there was no doubt in his mind, and he
would not allow the existence of the animal to be disputed on board.
He believed in it, as certain good women believe in the leviathan-
by faith, not by reason. The monster did exist, and he had sworn to
rid the seas of it. He was a kind of Knight of Rhodes, a second
Dieudonne de Gozon, going to meet the serpent which desolated the
island. Either Captain Farragut would kill the narwhal, or the narwhal
would kill the captain. There was no third course.
    The officers on board shared the opinion of their chief. They were
ever chatting, discussing, and calculating the various chances of a
meeting, watching narrowly the vast surface of the ocean. More than
one took up his quarters voluntarily in the crosstrees, who would have
cursed such a berth under any other circumstances. As long as the
sun described its daily course, the rigging was crowded with
sailors, whose feet were burnt to such an extent by the heat of the
deck as to render it unbearable; still the Abraham Lincoln had not yet
breasted the suspected waters of the Pacific. As to the ship's
company, they desired nothing better than to meet the unicorn, to
harpoon it, hoist it on board, and despatch it. They watched the sea
with eager attention.
    Besides, Captain Farragut had spoken of a certain sum of two
thousand dollars, set apart for whoever should first sight the
monster, were he cabin boy, common seaman, or officer.
    I leave you to judge how eyes were used on board the Abraham
    For my own part, I was not behind the others, and left to no one
my share of daily observations. The frigate might have been called the
Argus, for a hundred reasons. Only one amongst us, Conseil, seemed
to protest by his indifference against the question which so
interested us all, and seemed to be out of keeping with the general
enthusiasm on board.
    I have said that Captain Farragut had carefully provided his
ship with every apparatus for catching the gigantic cetacean. No
whaler had ever been better armed. We possessed every known engine,
from the harpoon thrown by the hand to the barbed arrows of the
blunderbuss, and the explosive balls of the duck gun. On the
forecastle lay the perfection of a breech-loading gun, very thick at
the breech, and very narrow in the bore, the model of which had been
in the Exhibition of 1867. This precious weapon of American origin
could throw with ease a conical projectile of nine pounds to a mean
distance of ten miles.
    Thus the Abraham Lincoln wanted for no means of destruction;
and, what was better still, she had on board Ned Land, the prince of
    Ned Land was a Canadian, with an uncommon quickness of hand, and
who knew no equal in his dangerous occupation. Skill, coolness,
audacity, and cunning, he possessed in a superior degree, and it
must be a cunning whale or a singularly "cute" cachalot to escape
the stroke of his harpoon.
    Ned Land was about forty years of age; he was a tall man (more
than six feet high), strongly built, grave and taciturn,
occasionally violent, and very passionate when contradicted. His
person attracted attention, but above all, the boldness of his look,
which gave a singular expression to his face.
    Who calls himself Canadian calls himself French; and little
communicative as Ned Land was, I must admit that he took a certain
liking for me. My nationality drew him to me, no doubt. It was an
opportunity for him to talk, and for me to hear, that old language
of Rabelais, which is still in use in some Canadian provinces. The
harpooner's family was originally from Quebec, and was already a tribe
of hardy fishermen when this town belonged to France.
    Little by little, Ned Land acquired a taste for chatting, and I
loved to hear the recital of his adventures in the polar seas. He
related his fishing, and his combats, with natural poetry of
expression; his recital took the form of an epic poem, and I seemed to
be listening to a Canadian Homer singing the Iliad of the regions of
the North.
    I am portraying this hardy companion as I really knew him. We
are old friends now, united in that unchangeable friendship which is
born and cemented amidst extreme dangers. Ah, brave Ned! I ask no more
than to live a hundred years longer, that I may have more time to
dwell the longer on your memory.
    Now, what was Ned Land's opinion upon the question of the marine
monster? I must admit that he did not believe in the unicorn, and
was the only one on board who did not share that universal conviction.
He even avoided the subject, which I one day thought it my duty to
press upon him. One magnificent evening, July the thirtieth- that is
to say, three weeks after our departure- the frigate was abreast of
Cape Blanc, thirty miles to leeward of the coast of Patagonia. We
had crossed the tropic of Capricorn, and the Strait of Magellan opened
less than seven hundred miles to the south. Before eight days were
over, the Abraham Lincoln would be plowing the waters of the Pacific.
    Seated on the poop, Ned Land and I were chatting of one thing
and another as we looked at this mysterious sea, whose great depths
had up to this time been inaccessible to the eye of man. I naturally
led up the conversation to the giant unicorn, and examined the various
chances of success or failure of the expedition. But seeing that Ned
Land let me speak without saying too much himself, I pressed him
wore closely.
    "Well, Ned," said I, "is it possible that you are not convinced of
the existence of this cetacean that we are following? Have you any
particular reason for being so incredulous?"
    The harpooner looked at me fixedly for some moments before
answering, struck his broad forehead with his hand (a habit of his),
as if to collect himself, and said at last, "Perhaps I have, Mr.
    "But, Ned, you, a whaler by profession, familiarized with all
the great marine mammalia; you, whose imagination might easily
accept the hypothesis of enormous cetaceans, you ought to be the
last to doubt under such circumstances!"
    "That is just what deceives you, Professor," replied Ned. "That
the vulgar should believe in extraordinary comets traversing space,
and in the existence of antediluvian monsters in the heart of the
globe, may well be; but neither astronomer nor geologist believes in
such chimeras. As a whaler I have followed many a cetacean harpooned a
great number, and killed several; but, however strong or well-armed
they may have been, neither their tails nor their weapons would have
been able even to scratch the iron plates of a steamer."
    "But, Ned, they tell of ships which the tusk of the narwhal has
pierced through and through."
    "Wooden ships- that is possible," replied the Canadian; "but I
have never seen it done; and, until further proof, I deny that whales,
cetaceans, or sea unicorns could ever produce the effect you
    "Well, Ned, I repeat it with a conviction resting on the logic
of facts. I believe in the existence of a mammal powerfully organized,
belonging to the branch of vertebrata, like the whales, the cachalots,
or the dolphins, and furnished with a horn of defense of great
penetrating power."
    "Hum!" said the harpooner, shaking his head with the air of a
man who would not be convinced.
    "Notice one thing, my worthy Canadian," I resumed. "If such an
animal is in existence, if it inhabits the depths of the ocean, if
it frequents the strata lying miles below the surface of the water, it
must necessarily possess an organization the strength of which would
defy all comparison."
    "And why this powerful organization?" demanded Ned.
    "Because it requires incalculable strength to keep one's self in
these strata and resist their pressure. Listen to me. Let us admit
that the pressure of the atmosphere is represented by the weight of
a column of water 32 feet high. In reality the column of water would
be shorter, as we are speaking of sea water, the density of which is
greater than that of fresh water. Very well, when you dive, Ned, as
many times 32 feet of water as there are above you, so many times does
your body bear a pressure equal to that of the atmosphere, that is
to say, 15 pounds for each square inch of its surface. It follows
then, that at 320 feet this pressure equals that of 10 atmospheres, of
100 atmospheres at 3,200 feet, and of 1,000 atmospheres at 32,000
feet; that is, about 6 miles; which is equivalent to saying that, if
you could attain this depth in the ocean, each square three-eighths of
an inch of the surface of your body would bear a pressure of 5,600
pounds. Ah! my brave Ned, do you know how many square inches you carry
on the surface of your body?"
    "I have no idea, Mr. Aronnax."
    "About 6,500; and, as in reality the atmospheric pressure is about
15 pounds to the square inch, your 6,500 square inches bear at this
moment a pressure of 97,500 pounds."
    "Without my perceiving it?"
    "Without your perceiving it. And if you are not crushed by such
a pressure, it is because the air penetrates the interior of your body
with equal pressure. Hence, perfect equilibrium between the interior
and exterior pressure, which thus neutralize each other, and which
allows you to bear, it without inconvenience. But in the water it is
another thing."
    "Yes, I understand," replied Ned, becoming more attentive;
"because the water surrounds me, but does not penetrate."
    "Precisely, Ned: so that at 32 feet beneath the surface of the sea
you would undergo a pressure of 97,500 pounds; at 320 feet, ten
times that pressure; at 3,200 feet, a hundred times that pressure;
lastly, at 32,000 feet, a thousand times that pressure would be
97,500,000 pounds; that is to say, that you would be flattened as if
you had been drawn from the plates of a hydraulic machine!"
    "The devil!" exclaimed Ned.
    "Very well, my worthy harpooner, if some vertebrate, several
hundred yards long, and large in proportion, can maintain itself in
such depths, of those whose surface is represented by millions of
square inches, that is by tens of millions of pounds, we must estimate
the pressure they undergo. Consider, then, what must be the resistance
of their bony structure, and the strength of their organization to
withstand such pressure!"
    "Why!" exclaimed Ned Land, "they must be made of iron plates eight
inches thick, like the armored frigates."
    "As you say, Ned. And think what destruction such a mass would
cause, if hurled with the speed of an express train against the hull
of a vessel."
    "Yes- certainly- perhaps," replied the Canadian, shaken by these
figures, but not yet willing to give in.
    "Well, have I convinced you?"
    "You have convinced me of one thing, sir, which is that, if such
animals do exist at the bottom of the seas, they must necessarily be
as strong as you say."
    "But if they do not exist, mine obstinate harpooner, how explain
the accident to the Scotia?"
                           CHAPTER V.

                          AT A VENTURE.

    THE voyage of the Abraham Lincoln was for a long time marked by no
special incident. But one circumstance happened which showed the
wonderful dexterity of Ned Land, and proved what confidence we might
place in him.
    June thirtieth the frigate spoke some American whalers, from
whom we learned that they knew nothing about the narwhal. But one of
them, the captain of the Monroe, knowing that Ned Land had shipped
on board the Abraham Lincoln, begged for his help in chasing a whale
they had in sight. Commander Farragut, desirous of seeing Ned Land
at work, gave him permission to go on board the Monroe. And fate
served our Canadian so well that, instead of one whale, he harpooned
two with a double blow, striking one straight to the heart, and
catching the other after some minutes' pursuit.
    Decidedly, if the monster ever had to do with Ned Land's
harpoon, I would not bet in its favor.
    The frigate skirted the southeast coast of America with great
rapidity. July third we were at the opening of the Strait of Magellan,
level with Cape Vierges. But Commander Farragut would not take a
tortuous passage, but doubled Cape Horn.
    The ship's crew agreed with him. And certainly it was possible
that they might meet the narwhal in this narrow pass. Many of the
sailors affirmed that the monster could not pass there, "that he was
too big for that!"
    July sixth, about three o'clock in the afternoon, the Abraham
Lincoln, at fifteen miles to the south, doubled the solitary island,
this lost rock at the extremity of the American continent, to which
some Dutch sailors gave the name of their native town, Cape Horn.
The course was taken toward the northwest, and the next day the
screw of the frigate was at last beating the waters of the Pacific.
    "Keep your eyes open!" called out the sailors.
    And they were opened widely. Both eyes and glasses, a little
dazzled, it is true, by the prospect of two thousand dollars. had
not an instant's repose. Day and night they watched the surface of the
ocean' and even nyctalopes, whose faculty of seeing in the darkness
multiplies their chances a hundredfold, would have had enough to do to
gain the prize.
    I myself, for whom money had no charms, was not the least
attentive on board. Giving but few minutes to my meals, but a few
hours to sleep, indifferent to either rain or sunshine, I did not
leave the poop of the vessel. Now leaning on the netting of the
forecastle, now on the taffrail, I devoured with eagerness the soft
loam which whitened the sea as far as the eye could reach; and how
often have I shared the emotion of the majority of the crew, when some
capricious whale raised its black back above the waves! The poop of
the vessel was crowded in a moment. The cabins poured forth a
torrent of sailors and officers, each with heaving breast and
troubled eye watching the course of the cetacean. I looked. and
looked, till I was nearly blind, whilst Conseil, always phlegmatic,
kept repeating in a calm voice:
    "If, Sir, you would not squint so much, you would see better!"
    But vain excitement! the Abraham Lincoln checked its speed and
made for the animal signaled, a simple whale, or common cachalot,
which soon disappeared amidst a storm of execration.
    But the weather was good. The voyage was being accomplished
under the most favorable auspices. It was then the bad season in
Australia, the July of that zone corresponding to our January in
Europe; but the sea was beautiful and easily scanned round a vast
    July twentieth the tropic of Capricorn was cut by 105 degrees of
longitude, and the twenty-seventh of the same month we crossed the
equator on meridian 110. This passed, the frigate took a more
decided westerly direction, and scoured the central waters of the
Pacific. Commander Farragut thought, and with reason, that it was
better to remain in deep water, and keep clear of continents or
islands, which the beast itself seemed to shun (perhaps because
there was not enough water for him! suggested the greater part of
the crew). The frigate passed at some distance from the Marquesas
and the Sandwich Islands, crossed the tropic of Cancer, and made for
the China Seas. We were on the theater of the last diversions of the
monster; and to say truth, we no longer lived on board. Hearts
palpitated, fearfully preparing themselves for future incurable
aneurism. The entire ship's crew were undergoing a nervous excitement,
of which I can give no idea: they could not eat, they could not sleep-
twenty times a day, a misconception or an optical illusion of some
sailor seated on the taffrail, would cause dreadful perspirations, and
these emotions, twenty times repeated, kept us in a state of
excitement so violent that a reaction was unavoidable.
    And truly, reaction soon showed itself. For three months, during
which a day seemed an age, the Abraham Lincoln furrowed all the waters
of the North Pacific, running at whales, making sharp deviations
from her course, veering suddenly from one tack to another, stopping
suddenly, putting on steam, and backing ever and anon at the risk of
deranging her machinery; and not one point of the Japanese or American
coast was left unexplored.
    The warmest partisans of the enterprise now became its most ardent
detractors. Reaction mounted from the crew to the captain himself,
and, certainly, had it not been for resolute determination on the part
of Captain Farragut, the frigate would have headed due southward. This
useless search could not last much longer. The Abraham Lincoln had
nothing to reproach herself with; she had done her best to succeed.
Never had an American ship's crew shown more zeal or patience; its
failure could not be placed to their charge- there remained nothing
but to return.
    This was represented to the commander. The sailors could not
hide their discontent, and the service suffered. I will not say
there was mutiny on board, but, after a reasonable period of
obstinacy, Captain Farragut (as Columbus did) asked for three days'
patience. If in three days the monster did not appear, the man at
the helm should give three turns of the wheel, and the Abraham Lincoln
would make for the European seas.
    This promise was made on the second of November. It had the effect
of rallying the ship's crew. The ocean was watched with renewed
attention. Each one wished for a last glance in which to sum up his
remembrance. Glasses were used with feverish activity. It was a
grand defiance given to the giant narwhal, and he could scarcely
fail to answer the summons and "appear."
    Two days passed, the steam was at half pressure; a thousand
schemes were tried to attract the attention and stimulate the apathy
of the animal in case it should be met in those parts. Large
quantities of bacon were trailed in the wake of the ship, to the great
satisfaction (I must say) of the sharks. Small craft radiated in all
directions round the Abraham Lincoln as she lay to, and did not
leave a spot of the sea unexplored. But the night of the fourth of
November arrived without the unveiling of this submarine mystery.
    The next day, the fifth of November, at twelve, the delay would
(morally speaking) expire; after that time, Commander Farragut,
faithful to his promise, was to turn the course to the southeast and
abandon forever the northern regions of the Pacific.
    The frigate was then in 31 degrees 15' north latitude and 136
degrees 42' east longitude. The coast of Japan remained less than
two hundred miles to leeward. Night was approaching. They had just
struck eight bells; large clouds veiled the face of the moon, then
in its first quarter. The sea undulated peaceably under the stern of
the vessel.
    At that moment I was leaning forward on the starboard netting.
Conseil, standing near me, was looking straight before him. The
crew, perched in the ratlines, examined the horizon, which
contracted and darkened by degrees. Officers with their night
glasses scoured the growing darkness; sometimes the ocean sparkled
under the rays of the moon, which darted between two clouds, then
all trace of light was lost in the darkness.
    In looking at Conseil, I could see he was undergoing a little of
the general influence. At least I thought so. Perhaps for the first
time his nerves vibrated to a sentiment of curiosity.
    "Come, Conseil," said I, "this is the last chance of pocketing the
two thousand dollars."
    "May I be permitted to say, Sir," replied Conseil, "that I never
reckoned on getting the prize; and, had the government of the Union
offered a hundred thousand dollars, it would have been none the
    "You are right, Conseil. It is a foolish affair after all, and one
upon which we entered too lightly. What time lost, what useless
emotions! We should have been back in France six months ago."
    "In your little room, Sir," replied Conseil, "and in your museum
Sir; and I should have already classed all your fossils, Sir. And
the Babiroussa would have been installed in its cage in the Jardin des
Plantes, and have drawn all the curious people of the capital!"
    "As you say, Conseil. I fancy we shall run a fair chance of
being laughed at for our pains."
    "That's tolerably certain," replied Conseil, quietly; "I think
they will make fun of you, Sir. And, must I say it?"-
    "Go on, my good friend."
    "Well, Sir, you will only get your deserts."
    "When one has the honor of being a savant as you are, Sir, one
should not expose oneself to"-
    Conseil had not time to finish his compliment. In the midst of
general silence a voice had just been heard. It was the voice of Ned
Land shouting:
    "Look out there! the very thing we are looking for- on our weather
                           CHAPTER VI.

                         AT FULL STEAM.

    AT THIS cry the whole ship's crew hurried toward the harpooner:
commander, officers, masters, sailors, cabin boys; even the
engineers left their engines, and the stokers their furnaces.
    The order to stop her had been given, and the frigate now simply
went on by her own momentum. The darkness was then profound, and
however good the Canadian's eyes were, I asked myself how he had
managed to see, and what he had been able to see. My heart beat as
if it would break. But Ned Land was not mistaken, and we all perceived
the object he pointed to. At two cables' lengths from the Abraham
Lincoln, on the starboard quarter, the sea seemed to be illuminated
all over. It was not a mere phosphoric phenomenon. The monster emerged
some fathoms from the water, and then threw out that very intense
but inexplicable light mentioned in the report of several captains.
This magnificent irradiation must have been produced by an agent of
great shining power. The luminous part traced on the sea an immense
oval, much elongated, the center of which condensed a burning heat,
whose overpowering brilliancy died out by successive gradations.
    "It is only an agglomeration of phosphoric particles," cried one
of the officers.
    "No, Sir, certainly not," I replied. "Never did pholades or salpae
produce such a powerful light. That brightness is of an essentially
electrical nature. Besides, see, see! it moves; it is moving
forward, backward, it is darting toward us!"
    A general cry arose from the frigate.
    "Silence!" said the captain; "up with the helm, reverse the
    The steam was shut off, and the Abraham Lincoln, beating to
port, described a semicircle.
    "Right the helm, go ahead," cried the captain.
    These orders were executed, and the frigate moved rapidly from the
burning light.
    I was mistaken. She tried to sheer off, but the supernatural
animal approached with a velocity double her own.
    We gasped for breath. Stupefaction more than fear made us dumb and
motionless. The animal gained on us, sporting with the waves. It
made the round of the frigate, which was then making fourteen
knots!- and enveloped it with its electric rings like luminous dust.
Then it moved away two or three miles, leaving a phosphorescent track,
like those volumes of steam that the express trains leave behind.
All at once from the dark line of the horizon whither it retired to
gain its momentum, the monster rushed suddenly toward the Abraham
Lincoln with alarming rapidity, stopped suddenly about twenty feet
from the hull, and died out- not diving under the water, for its
brilliancy did not abate- but suddenly, and as if the source of this
brilliant emanation was exhausted. Then it reappeared on the other
side of the vessel, as if it had turned and slid under the hull. Any
moment a collision might have occurred which would have been fatal
to us. However, I was astonished at the maneuvers of the frigate.
She fled and did not attack.
    On the captain's face, generally so impassive, was an expression
of unaccountable astonishment.
    "Mr. Aronnax," he said, "I do not know with what formidable
being I have to deal, and I will not imprudently risk my frigate in
the midst of this darkness. Besides, how attack this unknown thing,
how defend oneself from it? Wait for daylight, and the scene will
    "You have no further doubt, Captain, of the nature of the animal?"
    "No, Sir; it is evidently a gigantic narwhal, and an electric
    "Perhaps," added I, "one can only approach it with a gymnotus or a
    "Undoubtedly," replied the captain, "if it possesses such dreadful
power, it is the most terrible animal that ever was created. That is
why, Sir, I must be on my guard."
    The crew were on their feet all night. No one thought of sleep.
The Abraham Lincoln, not being able to struggle with such velocity,
had moderated its pace, and sailed at half speed. For its part, the
narwhal, imitating the frigate, let the waves rock it at will, and
seemed decided not to leave the scene of the struggle. Toward
midnight, however, it disappeared, or, to use a more appropriate term,
it "died out" like a large glowworm. Had it fled? One could only fear,
not hope it. But at seven minutes to one o'clock in the morning a
deafening whistling was heard, like that produced by a body of water
rushing with great violence.
    The captain, Ned Land, and I, were then on the poop, eagerly
peering through the profound darkness.
    "Ned Land," asked the commander, "you have often heard the roaring
of whales?"
    "Often, Sir, but never such whales the sight of which brought me
in two thousand dollars. If I can only approach within four harpoon
lengths of it!"
    "But to approach it," said the commander, "I ought to put a whaler
at your disposal?"
    "Certainly, Sir."
    "That will be trifling with the lives of my men."
    "And mine too," simply said the harpooner.
    Toward two o'clock in the morning, the burning light reappeared,
not less intense, about five miles to windward of the Abraham Lincoln.
Notwithstanding the distance, and the noise of the wind and sea, one
heard distinctly the loud strokes of the animal's tail, and even its
panting breath. It seemed that, at the moment that the enormous
narwhal had come to take breath at the surface of the water, the air
was engulfed in its lungs, like the steam in the vast cylinders of a
machine of two-thousand horse power.
    "Hum!" thought I, "a whale with the strength of a cavalry regiment
would be a pretty whale!"
    We were on the qui vive till daylight, and prepared for the
combat. The fishing implements were laid along the hammock nettings.
The second lieutenant loaded the blunderbusses, which could throw
harpoons to the distance of a mile, and long duck guns, with explosive
bullets, which inflicted mortal wounds even to the most terrible
animals. Ned Land contented himself with sharpening his harpoon- a
terrible weapon in his hands.
    At six o'clock, day began to break; and with the first glimmer
of light, the electric light of the narwhal disappeared. At seven
o'clock the day was sufficiently advanced, but a very thick sea fog
obscured our view, and the best spyglasses could not pierce it. That
caused disappointment and anger.
    I climbed the mizzenmast. Some officers were already perched on
the mastheads. At eight o'clock the fog lay heavily on the waves,
and its thick scrolls rose little by little. The horizon grew wider
and clearer at the same time. Suddenly, just as on the day before, Ned
Land's voice was heard:
    "The thing itself on the port quarter!" cried the harpooner.
    Every eye was turned toward the point indicated. There, a mile and
a half from the frigate, a long blackish body emerged a yard above the
waves. Its tail, violently agitated, produced a considerable eddy.
Never did a caudal appendage beat the sea with such violence. An
immense track, of a dazzling whiteness, marked the passage of the
animal, and described a long curve.
    The frigate approached the cetacean. I examined it thoroughly.
    The reports of the Shannon and of the Helvetia had rather
exaggerated its size, and I estimated its length at only two hundred
fifty feet. As to its dimensions, I could only conjecture them to be
admirably proportioned. While I watched this phenomenon, two jets of
steam and water were ejected from its vents, and rose to the height of
one hundred twenty feet, thus I ascertained its way of breathing. I
concluded definitely that it belonged to the vertebrate branch,
class mammalia.
    The crew waited impatiently for their chief's orders. The
latter, after having observed the animal attentively, called the
engineer. The engineer ran to him.
    "Sir," said the commander, "you have steam up?"
    "Yes, Sir," answered the engineer.
    "Well, make up your fires and put on all steam."
    Three hurrahs greeted this order. The time for the struggle had
arrived. Some moments after, the two funnels of the frigate vomited
torrents of black smoke, and the bridge quaked under the trembling
of the boilers.
    The Abraham Lincoln, propelled by her powerful screw, went
straight at the animal. The latter allowed it to come within half a
cable's length; then, as if disdaining to dive, it took a little turn,
and stopped a short distance off.
    This pursuit lasted nearly three quarters of an hour, without
the frigate gaining two yards on the cetacean. It was quite evident
that at that rate we should never come up with it.
    "Well, Mr. Land," asked the captain, "do you advise me to put
the boats out to sea?"
    "No, Sir," replied Ned Land; "because we shall not take that beast
    "What shall we do then?"
    "Put on more steam if you can, Sir. With your leave, I mean to
post myself under the bowsprit, and if we get within harpooning
distance, I shall throw my harpoon."
    "Go, Ned," said the captain. "Engineer, put on more pressure."
    Ned Land went to his post. The fires were increased, the screw
revolved forty-three times a minute, and the steam poured out of the
valves. We heaved the log, and calculated that the Abraham Lincoln was
going at the rate of eighteen and a half miles an hour.
    But the accursed animal swam, too, at the rate of eighteen and a
half miles.
    For a whole hour, the frigate kept up this pace, without gaining
six feet. It was humiliating for one of the swiftest sailors in the
American navy. A stubborn anger seized the crew; the sailors abused
the monster, who, as before, disdained to answer them; the captain
no longer contented himself with twisting his beard- he gnawed it.
    The engineer was again called.
    "You have turned full steam on?"
    "Yes, Sir," replied the engineer.
    The speed of the Abraham Lincoln increased. Its masts trembled
down to their stepping holes, and the clouds of smoke could hardly
find way out of the narrow funnels.
    They heaved the log a second time.
    "Well?" asked the captain of the man at the wheel.
    "Nineteen miles and three tenths, Sir."
    "Clap on more steam."
    The engineer obeyed. The manometer showed ten degrees. But the
cetacean grew warm itself, no doubt; for, without straining itself, it
made nineteen and three tenths miles.
    What a pursuit No, I cannot describe the emotion that vibrated
through me. Ned Land kept his post, harpoon in hand. Several times the
animal let us gain upon it. "We shall catch it! we shall catch it!"
cried the Canadian. But just as he was going, to strike, the
cetacean stole away with a rapidity that could not be estimated at
less than thirty miles an hour, and even during our maximum of
speed, it bullied the frigate, going round and round it. A cry of fury
broke from, everyone!
    At noon we were no further advanced than at eight o'clock in the
    The captain then decided to take more direct means.
    "Ah!" said he, "that animal goes quicker than the Abraham Lincoln.
Very well we will see whether it will escape these conical bullets.
Send your men to the forecastle, Sir!"
    The forecastle gun was immediately loaded and slewed round. But
the shot passed some feet above the cetacean, which was half a mile
    "Another more to the right," cried the commander, "and five
dollars to whoever will hit that infernal beast."
    An old gunner with a gray beard- that I can see now- with steady
eye and grave face, went up to the gun and took a long aim. A loud
report was heard, with which were mingled the cheers of the crew.
    The bullet did its work; it hit the animal, but not fatally,
and, sliding off the rounded surface, was lost in two miles depth of
    The chase began again, and the captain, leaning toward me, said-
    "I will pursue that beast till my frigate bursts up."
    "Yes," answered I; "and you will be quite right to do it."
    I wished the beast would exhaust itself, and not be insensible
to fatigue like a steam engine! But it was of no use. Hours passed,
without its showing any signs of exhaustion.
    However, it must be said in praise of the Abraham Lincoln, that
she struggled on indefatigably. I cannot reckon the distance she
made under three hundred miles during this unlucky day, November
sixth. But night came on, and overshadowed the rough ocean.
    Now I thought our expedition was at an end, and that we should
never again see the extraordinary animal. I was mistaken. At ten
minutes to eleven in the evening, the electric light reappeared
three miles to windward of the frigate, as pure, as intense as
during the preceding night.
    The narwhal seemed motionless; perhaps, tired with its day's work,
it slept, letting itself float with the undulation of the waves. Now
was a chance of which the captain resolved to take advantage.
    He gave his orders. The Abraham Lincoln kept up half steam, and
advanced. cautiously so as not to awake its adversary. It is no rare
thing to meet in the middle of the ocean whales so sound asleep that
they can be successfully attacked, and Ned Land had harpooned more
than one during its sleep. The Canadian went to take his place again
under the bowsprit.
    The frigate approached noiselessly, stopped at two cables'
length from the animal, and following its track. No one breathed; a
deep silence reigned on the bridge. We were not a hundred feet from
the burning focus, the light of which increased and dazzled our eyes.
    At this moment, leaning on the forecastle bulwark, I saw below
me Ned Land grappling the martingale in one hand, brandishing his
terrible harpoon in the other, scarcely twenty feet from the
motionless animal. Suddenly his arm straightened, and the harpoon
was thrown; I heard the sonorous stroke of the weapon, which seemed to
have struck a hard body. The electric light went out suddenly, and two
enormous waterspouts broke over the bridge of the frigate, rushing
like a torrent from stem to stern, overthrowing men, and breaking
the lashing of the spars. A fearful shock followed, and, thrown over
the rail without having time to stop myself, I fell into the sea.
                          CHAPTER VII.

                  AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE.

    THIS unexpected fall so stunned me that I have no clear
recollection of my sensations at the time. I was at first drawn down
to a depth of about twenty feet. I am a good swimmer (though without
pretending to rival Byron or Edgar Poe, who were masters of the
art), and in that plunge I did not lose my presence of mind. Two
vigorous strokes brought me to the surface of the water. My first care
was to look for the frigate. Had the crew seen me disappear? Had the
Abraham Lincoln veered round? Would the captain put out a boat?
Might I hope to be saved?
    The darkness was intense. I caught a glimpse of a black mass
disappearing in the east, its beacon lights dying out in the distance.
It was the frigate! I was lost.
    "Help, Help!" I shouted, swimming toward the Abraham Lincoln in
    My clothes encumbered me; they seemed glued to my body, and
paralyzed my movements.
    I was sinking! I was suffocating!
    This was my last cry. My mouth filled with water; I struggled
against being drawn down the abyss. Suddenly my clothes were seized by
a strong hand, and I felt myself quickly drawn up to the surface of
the sea; and I heard, yes, I heard these words pronounced in my ear:
    "If master would be so good as to lean on my shoulder, master
would swim with much greater ease."
    I seized with one hand my faithful Conseil's arm.
    "Is it you?" said I, "you?"
    "Myself," answered Conseil; "and waiting master's orders."
    "That shock threw you as well as me into the sea?"
    "No; but being in my master's service, I followed him."
    The worthy fellow thought that was but natural.
    "And the frigate?" I asked.
    "The frigate?" replied Conseil, turning on his back; "I think
that master had better not count too much on her."
    "You think so?"
    "I say that, at the time I threw, myself into the sea, I heard the
men at the wheel say, 'The screw and the rudder are broken.'"
    "Yes, broken by the monster's teeth. It is the only injury the
Abraham Lincoln has sustained. But it is a bad lookout for us- she
no longer answers her helm."
    "Then we are lost!"
    "Perhaps so," calmly answered Conseil. "However, we have still
several hours before us, and one can do a great deal in some hours."
    Conseil's imperturbable coolness set me up again. I swam more
vigorously; but, cramped by my clothes, stuck to me like a leaden
weight, I felt great difficulty in bearing up. Conseil saw this.
    "Will master let me make a slit?" said he; and slipping an open
knife under my clothes, he ripped them up from top to bottom very
rapidly. Then he cleverly slipped them off me, while I swam for both
of us.
    Then I did the same for Conseil, and we continued to swim near
to each other.
    Nevertheless, our situation was no less terrible. Perhaps our
disappearance had not been noticed; and if it had been, the frigate
could not tack, being without its helm. Conseil argued on this
supposition, and laid his plans accordingly. This phlegmatic boy was
perfectly self-possessed. We then decided that, as our only chance
of safety was being picked up by the Abraham Lincoln's boats, we ought
to manage so as to wait for them as long as possible. I resolved
then to husband our strength, so that both should not be exhausted
at the same time; and this is how we managed: while one of us lay on
his back, quite still, with arms crossed, and legs stretched out,
the other would swim and push him on in front. This towing business
did not last more than ten minutes each; and relieving each other
thus, we could swim on for some hours, perhaps till daybreak. Poor
chancel but hope is so firmly rooted in the heart of man Moreover,
there were two of us. Indeed I declare (though it may seem improbable)
if I sought to destroy all hope, if I wished to despair, I could not.
    The collision of the frigate with the cetacean had occurred
about eleven o'clock the evening before. I reckoned then we should
have eight hours to swim before sunrise, an operation quite
practicable if we relieved each other. The sea, very calm, was in
our favor. Sometimes I tried to pierce the intense darkness that was
only dispelled by the phosphorescence caused by our movements. I
watched the luminous waves that broke over my hand, whose
mirror-like surface was spotted with silvery rings. One might have
said that we were in a bath of quicksilver.
    Near one o'clock in the morning, I was seized with dreadful
fatigue. My limbs stiffened under the strain of violent cramp. Conseil
was obliged to keep me up, and our preservation devolved on him alone.
I heard the poor boy pant; his breathing became short and hurried.
found that he could not keep up much longer.
    "Leave me! leave me!" I said to him.
    "Leave my master? never!" replied he. "I would drown first."
    Just then the moon appeared through the fringes of a thick cloud
that the wind was driving to the east. The surface of the sea
glittered with its rays. This kindly light reanimated us. My head
got better again. I looked at all the points of the horizon. I saw the
frigate! She was five miles from us, and looked like a dark mass,
hardly discernible. But no boats!
    I would have cried out. But what good would it have been at such a
distance My swollen lips could utter no sounds. Conseil could
articulate some words, and I heard him repeat at intervals, "Help!
    Our movements were suspended for an instant; we listened. It might
be only a singing in the ear, but it seemed to me as if a cry answered
the cry from Conseil.
    "Did you hear?" I murmured.
    "Yes! yes!"
    And Conseil gave one more despairing call.
    This time there was no mistake! A human voice responded to ours!
Was it the voice of another unfortunate creature, abandoned in the
middle of the ocean, some other victim of the shock sustained by the
vessel? Or rather was it a boat from the frigate, that was hailing
us in the darkness?
    Conseil made a last effort, and, leaning on my shoulder while I
struck out in a despairing effort, he raised himself half out of the
water, then fell back exhausted.
    "What did you see?"
    "I saw," murmured he; "I saw- but do not talk- reserve all your
    What had he seen? Then, I know not why, the thought of the monster
came into my head for the first time! But that voice? The time is past
for Jonahs to take refuge in whales' bellies! However, Conseil was
towing me again. He raised his head sometimes, looked before us, and
uttered a cry of recognition, which was responded to by a voice that
came nearer and nearer. I scarcely heard it. My strength was
exhausted; my fingers stiffened; my hand afforded me support no
longer; my mouth, convulsively opening, filled with salt water. Cold
crept over me. I raised my head for the last time, then I sank.
    At this moment a hard body struck me. I clung to it: then I felt
that I was being drawn up, that I was brought to the surface of the
water, that my cheat collapsed: I fainted.
    It is certain that I soon came to, thanks to the vigorous rubbings
that I received. I half opened my eyes.
    "Conseil!" I murmured.
    "Does master call me?" asked Conseil.
    Just then, by the waning light of the moon, which was sinking down
to the horizon, I saw a face which was not Conseil's, and which I
immediately recognized.
    "Ned!" I cried.
    "The same, Sir, who is seeking his prize!" replied the Canadian.
    "Were you thrown into the sea by the shock of the frigate?"
    "Yes, Professor; but more fortunate than you, I was able to find a
footing almost directly upon a floating island."
    "An island?"
    "Or, more correctly speaking, on our gigantic narwhal."
    "Explain yourself, Ned!"
    "Only I soon found out why my harpoon had not entered its skin and
was blunted."
    "Why Ned, why?"
    "Because, Professor, that beast is made of sheet iron."
    The Canadian's last words produced a sudden revolution in my
brain. I wriggled myself quickly to the top of the being, or object,
half out of the water, which served us for a refuge. I kicked it. It
was evidently a hard impenetrable body, and not the soft substance
that forms the bodies of the great marine mammalia. But this hard body
might be a bony carapace, like that of the antediluvian animals; and I
should be free to class this monster among amphibious reptiles, such
as tortoises or alligators.
    Well, no! the blackish back that supported me was smooth,
polished, without scales. The blow produced a metallic sound; and
incredible though it may be, it seemed, I might say, as if it was made
of riveted plates.
    There was no doubt about it! this monster, this natural phenomenon
that had puzzled the learned world, and overthrown and misled the
imagination of seamen of both hemispheres, was, it must be owned, a
still more astonishing phenomenon, inasmuch as it was a simply human
    We had no time to lose, however. We were lying upon the back of
a sort of submarine boat, which appeared (as far as I could judge)
like a huge fish of steel. Ned Land's mind was made up on this
point. Conseil and I could only agree with him.
    Just then a bubbling began at the back of this strange thing
(which was evidently propelled by a screw), and it began to move. We
had only just time to seize hold of the upper part, which rose about
seven feet out of the, water, and happily its speed was not great.
    "As long as it sails horizontally," muttered Ned Land, "I do not
mind; but if it takes a fancy to dive, I would not give two straws for
my life."
    The Canadian might have said still less. It became really
necessary to communicate with the beings, whatever they were, shut
up inside the machine. I searched all over the outside for an
aperture, a panel, or a manhole, to use a technical expression; but
the lines of the iron rivets, solidly driven into the joints of the
iron plates, were clear and uniform. Besides, the moon disappeared
then, and left us in total darkness.
    At last this long night passed. My indistinct remembrance prevents
my describing all the impressions it made. I can only recall one
circumstance. During some lulls of the wind and sea, I fancied I heard
several times vague sounds, a sort of fugitive harmony produced by
distant words of command. What was then the mystery of this
submarine craft, of which the whole world vainly sought an
explanation? What kind of beings existed in this strange boat? What
mechanical agent caused its prodigious speed?
    Daybreak appeared. The morning mists surrounded us, but they
soon cleared off. I was about to examine the hull, which formed on
deck a kind of horizontal platform, when I felt it gradually sinking.
    "Oh! confound it!" cried Ned Land, kicking the resounding plate;
"open, you inhospitable rascals!"
    Happily the sinking movement ceased. Suddenly a noise, like iron
works violently pushed aside, came from the interior of the boat.
One iron plate was moved, a man appeared, uttered an odd cry, and
disappeared immediately.
    Some moments after, eight strong men, with masked faces,
appeared noiselessly, and drew us down into their formidable machine.
                          CHAPTER VIII.

                       MOBILIS IN MOBILI.

    THIS forcible abduction, so roughly carried out, was
accomplished with the rapidity of lightning. I shivered all over. Whom
had we to deal with? No doubt some new sort of pirates, who explored
the sea in their own way.
    Hardly had the narrow panel closed upon me, when I was enveloped
in darkness. My eyes, dazzled with the outer light, could
distinguish nothing. I felt my naked feet cling to the rings of an
iron ladder. Ned Land and Conseil, firmly seized, followed me. At
the bottom of the ladder, a door opened, and shut after us
immediately, with a bang.
    We were alone. Where, I could not say, hardly imagine. All was
black, and such a dense black that, after some minutes, my eyes had
not been able to discern even the faintest glimmer.
    Meanwhile, Ned Land, furious at these proceedings, gave free
vent to his indignation.
    "Confound it!" cried he, "here are people who come up to the
Scotch for hospitality. They only just miss being cannibals. I
should not be surprised at it, but I declare that they shall not eat
me without my protesting."
    "Calm yourself, friend Ned, calm yourself," replied Conseil,
quietly. "Do not cry out before you are hurt. We are not quite done
for yet."
    "Not quite," sharply replied the Canadian, "but pretty near, at
all events. Things look black. Happily, my bowie knife I have still,
and I can always see well enough to use it. The first of these pirates
who lays a hand on me"-
    "Do not excite yourself, Ned," I said to the harpooner, "and do
not compromise us by useless violence. Who knows but that they will
not listen to us? Let us rather try to find out where we are."
    I groped about. In five steps I came to an iron wall, made of
plates bolted together. Then turning back I struck against a wooden
table, near which were ranged several stools. The boards of this
prison were concealed under a thick mat of phormium, which deadened
the noise of the feet. The bare walls revealed no trace of window or
door. Conseil, going round the reverse way, met me, and we went back
to the middle of the cabin, which measured about twenty feet by ten.
As to its height, Ned Land, in spite of his own great height, could
not measure it.
    Half an hour had already passed without our situation being
bettered, when the dense darkness suddenly gave way to extreme
light. Our prison was suddenly lighted; that is to say, it became
filled with a luminous matter, so strong that I could not bear it at
first. In its whiteness and intensity I recognized that electric light
which played round the submarine boat like a magnificent phenomenon of
phosphorescence. After shutting my eyes involuntarily, I opened them
and saw that this luminous agent came from a half globe, unpolished,
placed in the roof of the cabin.
    "At last one can see," cried Ned Land, who, knife in hand, stood
on the defensive.
    "Yes," said I; "but we are still in the dark about ourselves."
    "Let master have patience," said the imperturbable Conseil.
    The sudden lighting of the cabin enabled me to examine it
minutely. It contained only a table and five stools. The invisible
door might be hermetically sealed. No noise was heard. All seemed dead
in the interior of this boat. Did it move, did it float on the surface
of the ocean, or did it dive into its depths? I could not guess.
    A noise of bolts was now heard, the door, opened, and two men
    One was short, very muscular, broad-shouldered, with robust limbs,
strong head, an abundance of black hair, thick mustache, a quick,
penetrating look, and the vivacity which characterizes the
population of southern France.
    The second stranger merits a more detailed description. A disciple
of Gratiolet or Engel would have read his face like an open book. I
made out his prevailing qualities directly- self-confidence- because
his head was well set on his shoulders, and his black eyes looked
around with cold assurance; calmness- for his skin, rather pale,
showed his coolness of blood; energy- evinced by the rapid contraction
of his lofty brows; and courage- because his deep breathing denoted
great power of lungs.
    Whether this person was thirty-five or fifty years of age, I could
not say. He was tall, had a large forehead, straight nose, a clearly
cut mouth, beautiful teeth, with fine taper hands, indicative of a
highly nervous temperament. This man was certainly the most
admirable specimen I had ever met. One particular feature was his
eyes, rather far from each other, and which could take in nearly a
quarter of the horizon at once.
    This faculty (I verified it later) gave him a range of vision
far superior to Ned Land's. When this stranger fixed upon an object,
his eyebrows met, his large eyelids closed around so as to contract
the range of his vision, and he looked as if he magnified the
objects lessened by distance, as if he pierced those sheets of water
opaque to our eyes, and as if he read the very depths of the seas.
    The two strangers, with caps made from the fur of the sea otter,
and shod with sea boots of seals' skin, were dressed in clothes of a
particular texture, which allowed free movement of the limbs. The
taller of the two, evidently the chief on board, examined us with
great attention, without saying a word; then turning to his companion,
talked with him in an unknown tongue. It was a sonorous, harmonious,
and flexible dialect, the vowels seeming to admit of very varied
    The other replied by a shake of the head, and added two or three
perfectly incomprehensible words. Then he seemed to question me by a
    I replied in good French that I did not know his language; but
he seemed not to understand me, and my situation became more
    "If master were to tell our story," said Conseil, "perhaps these
gentlemen may understand some words."
    I began to tell our adventures, articulating each syllable
clearly, and without omitting one single detail. I announced our names
and rank, introducing in person Professor Aronnax, his servant
Conseil, and master Ned Land, the harpooner.
    The man with the soft calm eyes listened to me quietly, even
politely, and with extreme attention; but nothing in his countenance
indicated that he had understood my story. When I finished, he said
not a word.
    There remained one resource, to speak English. Perhaps they
would know this almost universal language. I knew it, as well as the
German language- well enough to read it fluently, but not to speak
it correctly. But, anyhow, we must make ourselves understood.
    "Go on in your turn," I said to the harpooner; "speak your best
Anglo-Saxon, and try to do better than I."
    Ned did not beg off, and recommenced our story.
    To his great disgust, the harpooner did not seem to have made
himself more intelligible than I had. Our visitors did not stir.
They evidently understood neither the language of Arago nor of
    Very much embarrassed, after having vainly exhausted our
philological resources, I knew not what part to take, when Conseil
    "If master will permit me, I will relate it in German."
    But in spite of the elegant turns and good accent of the narrator,
the German language had no success. At last, nonplussed, I tried to
remember my first lessons, and to narrate our adventures in Latin, but
with no better success. That last attempt being of no avail, the two
strangers exchanged some words in their unknown language, and retired.
    The door shut.
    "It is an infamous shame," cried Ned Land, who broke out for the
twentieth time; "we speak to those rogues in French, English,
German, and Latin, and not one of them has the politeness to answer!"
    "Calm yourself," I said to the impetuous Ned, "anger will do no
    "But do you see, Professor," replied our irascible companion,
"that we shall absolutely die of hunger in this iron cage?"
    "Bah," said Conseil, philisophically, "we can hold out some time
    "My friends," I said, "we must not despair. We have been worse off
than this. Do me the favor to wait a little before forming an
opinion upon the commander and crew of this boat."
    "My opinion is formed," replied Ned Land, sharply.
    "They are rascals."
    "Good! and from what country?"
    "From the land of rogues!"
    "My brave Ned, that country is not clearly indicated on the map of
the world; but I admit that the nationality of the two strangers is
hard to determine. Neither English, French, nor German, that is
quite certain. However, I am inclined to think that the commander
and his companion were born in low latitudes. There is southern
blood in them. But I cannot decide by their appearance whether they
are Spaniards, Turks, Arabians, or Indians. As to their language, it
is quite incomprehensible."
    "There is the disadvantage of not knowing all languages," said
Conseil, "or the disadvantage of not having one universal language."
    As he said these words, the door opened. A steward entered. He
brought us clothes, coats and trousers, made of a stuff I did not
know. I hastened to dress myself, and my companions followed my
example. During that time, the steward- dumb, perhaps deaf- had
arranged the table, and laid three plates.
    "This is something like," said Conseil.
    "Bah," said the rancorous harpooner, "what do you suppose they eat
here? Tortoise liver, filleted shark, and beefsteaks from sea dogs."
    "We shall see," said Conseil.
    The dishes, of bell metal, were placed on the table, and we took
our places. Undoubtedly we had to do with civilized people, and had it
not been for the electric light which flooded us, I could have fancied
I was in the dining room of the Adelphi Hotel at Liverpool, or at
the Grand Hotel in Paris. I must say, however, that there was
neither bread nor wine. The water was fresh and clear, but it was
water, and did not suit Ned Land's taste. Among the dishes which
were brought to us, I recognized several fish delicately dressed;
but of some, although excellent, I could give no opinion, neither
could I tell to what kingdom they belonged, whether animal or
vegetable. As to the dinner service, it was elegant, and in perfect
taste. Each utensil, spoon, fork, knife, plate, had a letter
engraved on it, with, a motto above it, of which this is an exact

                       MOBILIS IN MOBILI.


    The letter N was no doubt the initial of the name of the strange
person, who commanded at the bottom of the seas.
    Ned and Conseil did not reflect much. They devoured the food,
and I did likewise. I was, besides, reassured as to our fate; and it
seemed evident that our hosts would not let us die of want.
    However, everything has an end, everything passes away, even the
hunger of people who have not eaten for fifteen hours. Our appetites
satisfied, we felt overcome with sleep.
    "Faith! I shall sleep well," said Conseil.
    "So shall I," replied Ned Land.
    My two companions stretched themselves on the cabin carpet, and
were soon sound asleep. For my own part, too many thoughts crowded
my brain, too many insoluble questions pressed upon me, too many
fancies kept my eyes half open. Where were we? What strange power
carried us on? I felt- or rather fancied I felt- the machine sinking
down to the lowest beds of the sea. Dreadful nightmares beset me; I
saw in these mysterious asylums a world of unknown animals, among
which this submarine boat seemed to be of the same kind, living,
moving, and formidable as they. Then my brain grew calmer, my
imagination wandered into vague unconsciousness, and I soon fell
into a deep sleep.
                           CHAPTER IX.

                       NED LAND'S TEMPERS.

    HOW long we slept I do not know; but our sleep must have lasted
long, for it rested us completely from our fatigues. I woke first.
My companions had not moved, and were still stretched in their corner.
    Hardly roused from my somewhat hard couch, I felt my brain
freed, my mind clear. I then began an attentive examination of our
cell. Nothing was changed inside. The prison was still a prison- the
prisoners, prisoners. However, the steward, during our sleep, had
cleared the table. I breathed with difficulty. The heavy air seemed to
oppress my lungs. Although the cell was large, we had evidently
consumed a great part of the oxygen that it contained. Indeed, each
man consumes, in one hour, the oxygen contained in more than 176 pints
of air, and this air, charged (as then) with a nearly equal quantity
of carbonic acid, becomes unbreathable.
    It became necessary to renew the atmosphere of our prison, and
no doubt the whole in the submarine boat. That gave rise to a question
in my mind. How would the commander of this floating dwelling place
proceed? Would he obtain air by chemical means, in getting by heat the
oxygen contained in chlorate of potash, and in absorbing carbonic acid
by caustic potash? Or, a more convenient, economical and
consequently more probable alternative, would he be satisfied to
rise and take breath at the surface of the water, like a cetacean, and
so renew for twenty-four hours the atmospheric provision?
    In fact, I was already obliged to increase my respirations to
eke out of this cell the little oxygen it contained, when suddenly I
was refreshed by a current of pure air, and perfumed with saline
emanations. It was an invigorating sea breeze, charged with iodine.
I opened my mouth wide, and my lungs saturated themselves with fresh
    At the same time I felt the boat rolling. The iron-plated
monster had evidently just risen to the surface of the ocean to
breathe, after the fashion of whales. I found out from that the mode
of ventilating the boat.
    When I had inhaled this air freely, I sought the conduit which
conveyed to us the beneficial whiff, and I was not long in finding it.
Above the door was a ventilator, through which volumes of fresh air
renewed the impoverished atmosphere of the cell.
    I was making my observations, when Ned and Conseil awoke almost at
the same time, under the influence of this reviving air. They rubbed
their eyes, stretched themselves, and were on their feet in an
    "Did master sleep well?" asked Conseil with his usual politeness.
    "Very well, my brave boy. And you, Mr. Land?"
    "Soundly, Professor. But I don't know if I am right or not,
there seems to be a sea breeze!"
    A seaman could not be mistaken, and I told the Canadian all that
had passed during his sleep.
    "Good!" said he; "that accounts for those roarings we heard,
when the supposed narwhal sighted the Abraham Lincoln."
    "Quite so, Master Land; it was taking breath."
    "Only, Mr. Aronnax, I have no idea what o'clock it is, unless it
is dinner time."
    "Dinner time! my good fellow? Say rather breakfast time, for we
certainly have begun another day."
    "So," said Conseil, "we have slept twenty-four hours?"
    "That is my opinion."
    "I will not contradict you," replied Ned Land. "But dinner or
breakfast, the steward will be welcome, whichever he brings."
    "Master Land, we must conform to the rules, and I suppose our
appetites are in advance of the dinner hour."
    "That is just like you, friend Conseil," said Ned, impatiently.
"You are never out of temper, always calm; you would return thanks
before grace, and die of hunger rather than complain!"
    Time was getting on, and we were fearfully hungry; and this time
the steward did not appear. It was rather too long to leave us, if
they really had good intentions toward us. Ned Land, tormented by
the cravings of hunger, got still more angry; and, notwithstanding his
promise, I dreaded an explosion when he found himself with one of
the crew.
    For two hours more, Ned Land's temper increased; he cried, he
shouted, but in vain. The walls were deaf. There was no sound to be
heard in the boat: all was still as death. It did not move, for I
should have felt the trembling motion of the hull under the
influence of the screw. Plunged in the depths of the waters, it
belonged no longer to earth- this silence was dreadful.
    I felt terrified, Conseil was calm, Ned Land roared.
    Just then a noise was heard outside. Steps sounded on the metal
flags. The locks were turned, the door opened, and the steward
    Before I could rush forward to stop him, the Canadian had thrown
him down, and held him by the throat. The steward was choking under
the grip of his powerful hand.
    Conseil was already trying to unclasp the harpooner's hand from
his half-suffocated victim, and I was going to fly to the rescue, when
suddenly I was nailed to the spot by hearing these words in French:
    "Be quiet, Master Land; and you, Professor, will you be so good as
to listen to me?" It was the commander of the vessel who thus spoke.
                           CHAPTER X.

                      THE MAN OF THE SEAS.

    AT THESE words, Ned Land rose suddenly. The steward, nearly
strangled, tottered out on a sign from his master; but such was the
power of the commander on board, that not a gesture betrayed the
resentment which this man must have felt toward the Canadian.
Conseil interested in spite of himself, I stupefied, awaited in
silence the result of this scene.
    The commander, leaning against a corner of the table with his arms
folded, scanned us with profound attention. Did he hesitate to
speak? Did he regret the words which he had just spoken in French? One
might almost think so.
    After some moments of silence, which not one of us dreamed of
breaking, "Gentlemen," said he, in a calm and penetrating voice, "I
speak French, English, German, and Latin equally well. I could,
therefore, have answered you at our first interview, but I wished to
know you first, then to reflect. The story told by each one,
entirely agreeing in the main points, convinced me of your identity. I
know now that chance has brought before me Monsieur Pierre Aronnax,
Professor of Natural History at the Museum of Paris, entrusted with
a scientific mission abroad, Conseil his servant, and Ned Land, of
Canadian origin, harpooner on board the frigate Abraham Lincoln of the
navy of the United States of America."
    I bowed assent. It was not a question that the commander put to
me. Therefore there was no answer to be made. This man expressed
himself with perfect ease, without any accent. His sentences were well
turned, his words clear, and his fluency of speech remarkable.
    He continued the conversation in these terms:
    "You have doubtless thought, Sir, that I have delayed long in
paying you this second visit. The reason is that, your identity
recognized, I wished to weigh maturely what part to act toward you.
I have hesitated much. Most annoying circumstances have brought you
into the presence of a man who has broken all the ties of humanity.
You have come to trouble my existence."
    "Unintentionally!" said I.
    "Unintentionally?" replied the stranger, raising his voice a
little; "was it unintentionally that the Abraham Lincoln pursued me
all over the seas? Was it unintentionally that you took passage in
this frigate? Was it unintentionally that your cannon balls
rebounded off the plating of my vessel? Was it unintentionally that
Mr. Ned Land struck me with his harpoon?"
    I detected a restrained irritation in these words. But to these
recriminations I had a very natural answer to make, and I made it.
    "Sir," said I, "no doubt you are ignorant of the discussions which
have taken place concerning you in America and Europe. You do not know
that divers accidents, caused by collisions with your submarine
machine, have excited public feeling in the two continents. I omit the
hypotheses without number by which it was sought to explain the
inexplicable phenomenon of which you alone possess the secret. But you
must understand that, in pursuing you over the high seas of the
Pacific, the Abraham Lincoln believed itself to be chasing some sea
monster, of which it was necessary to rid the ocean at any price."
    A half smile curled the lips of the commander.
    "M. Aronnax," he replied, "dare you affirm that your frigate would
not as soon have pursued and cannonaded a submarine boat as a
    This question embarrassed me, for certainly Captain Farragut might
not have hesitated. He might have thought it his duty to destroy a
contrivance of this kind, as he would a gigantic narwhal.
    "You understand then, Sir," continued the stranger, "that I have
the right to treat you as enemies?"
    I answered nothing, purposely. For what good would it be to
discuss such a proposition, when force could destroy the best
    "I have hesitated for some time," continued the commander;
"nothing obliged me to show you hospitality. If I chose to separate
myself from you, I should have no interest in seeing you again; I
could place you upon the deck of this vessel which has served you as a
refuge, I could sink beneath the waters, and forget that you had
ever existed. Would not that be my right?"
    "It might be the right of a savage," I answered, "but not that
of a civilized man."
    "Professor," replied the commander quickly, "I am not what you
call a civilized man! I have done with society entirely, for reasons
which I alone have the right of appreciating. I do not therefore
obey its laws, and I desire you never to allude to them before me
    This was said plainly. A flash of anger and disdain kindled in the
eyes of the unknown, and I had a glimpse of a terrible past in the
life of this man. Not only had he put himself beyond the pale of human
laws, but he had made himself independent of them, free in the
strictest acceptation of the word, quite beyond their reach who then
would dare to pursue him at the bottom of the sea, when, on its
surface, he defied all attempts made against him? What vessel could
resist the shock of his submarine monitor? What cuirass, however
thick, could withstand the blows of his spur? No man could demand from
him an account of his actions; God, if he believed in one- his
conscience, if he had one- were the sole judges to whom he was
    These reflections crossed my mind rapidly, while the stranger
personage was silent, absorbed, and as if wrapped up in himself. I
regarded him with fear mingled with interest, as, doubtless, Oedipus
regarded the Sphinx.
    After rather a long silence, the commander resumed the
    "I have hesitated," said he, "but I have thought that my
interest might be reconciled with that pity to which every human being
has a right. You will remain on board my vessel, since fate has cast
you there. You will be free; and in exchange for this liberty, I shall
only impose one single condition. Your word of honor to submit to it
will suffice."
    "Speak, Sir," I answered, "I suppose this condition is one which a
man of honor may accept?"
    "Yes, Sir; it is this. It is possible that certain events,
unforeseen, may oblige me to consign you to your cabins for some hours
or some days, as the case may be. As I desire never to use violence, I
expect from you, more than all the others, a passive obedience. In
thus acting, I take all, the responsibility; I acquit you entirely,
for I make it an impossibility for you to see, what ought not to be
seen. Do you accept this condition?"
    Then things took place on board which, to say the least, were
singular, and which ought not to be seen by people who were not placed
beyond the pale of social laws. Among the surprises which the future
was preparing for me, this might not be the least.
    "We accept," I answered; "only I will ask your permission, Sir, to
address one question to you, one only."
    "Speak, Sir."
    "You said that we should be free on board."
    "I ask you, then, what you mean by this liberty?"
    "Just the liberty to go, to come, to see, to observe even all that
passes here, save under rare circumstances, the liberty, in short,
which we ourselves enjoy, my companions and I."
    It was evident that we did not understand each other.
    "Pardon me, Sir," I resumed, "but this liberty is only what
every prisoner has of pacing his prison. It cannot suffice us."
    "It must suffice you, however."
    "What! we must renounce forever seeing our country, our friends,
our relations again?"
    "Yes, Sir. But to renounce that unendurable worldly yoke which men
believe to be liberty, is not perhaps so painful as you think."
    "Well," exclaimed Ned Land, "never will I give my word of honor
not to try to escape."
    "I did not ask you for your word of honor, Master Land,"
answered the commander, coldly.
    "Sir," I replied, beginning to get angry in spite of myself,
"you abuse your situation toward us; it is cruelty."
    "No, Sir, it is clemency. You are my prisoners of war. I keep you,
when I could, by a word, plunge you into the depths of the ocean.
You attacked me. You came to surprise a secret which no man in the
world must penetrate, the secret of my whole existence. And you
think that I am going to send you back to that world which must know
me no more? Never! In retaining you, it is not you whom I guard, it is
    These words indicated a resolution taken on the part of the
commander, against which no arguments would prevail.
    "So, Sir," I rejoined, "you give us simply the choice between life
and death?"
    "My friends," said I, "to a question thus put, there is nothing to
answer. But no word of honor binds us to the master of this vessel."
    "None, Sir," answered the unknown.
    Then, in a gentler tone, he continued:
    "Now, permit me to finish what I have to say to you. I know you,
M. Aronnax. You and your companions will not, perhaps, have so much to
complain of in the chance which has bound you to my fate. You will
find among the books which are my favorite study the work which you
have published on 'the depths of the sea.' I have often read it. You
have carried your work as far as terrestrial science permitted you.
But you do not know all, you have not seen all. Let me tell you
then, Professor, that you will not regret the time passed on board
my vessel. You are going to visit the land of marvels."
    These words of the commander had a great effect upon me. I
cannot deny it. My weak point was touched; and I forgot, for a moment,
that the contemplation of these sublime subjects was not worth the
loss of liberty. Besides, I trusted to the future to decide this grave
question. So I contented myself with saying:
    "By what name ought I to address you?"
    "Sir," replied the commander, "I am nothing to you but Captain
Nemo; and you and your companions are nothing to me but the passengers
of the Nautilus."
    Captain Nemo called. A steward appeared. The captain gave him
his orders in that strange language which I did not understand.
Then, turning toward the Canadian and Conseil:
    "A repast awaits you in your cabin," said he. "Be so good as to
follow this man."
    "And now, M. Aronnax, our breakfast is ready. Permit me to lead
the way."
    "I am at your service, Captain."
    I followed Captain Nemo; and as soon as I had passed through the
door, I found myself in a kind of passage lighted by electricity,
similar to the waist of a ship. After we had proceeded a dozen
yards, a second door opened before me.
    I then entered a dining room, decorated and furnished in severe
taste. High oaken sideboards, inlaid with ebony, stood at the two
extremities of the room, and upon their shelves glittered china,
porcelain, and glass of inestimable value. The plate on the table
sparkled in the rays which the luminous ceiling shed around, while the
light was tempered and softened by exquisite paintings.
    In the center of the room was a table richly laid out. Captain
Nemo indicated the place I was to occupy.
    The breakfast consisted of a certain number of dishes, the
contents of which were furnished by the sea alone; and I was
ignorant of the nature and mode of preparation of some of them. I
acknowledged that they were good, but they had a peculiar flavor,
which I easily became accustomed to. These different aliments appeared
to me to be rich in phosphorus, and I thought they must have a
marine origin.
    Captain Nemo looked at me. I asked him no questions, but he
guessed my thoughts, and answered of his own accord the questions
which I was burning to address to him.
    "The greater part of these dishes are unknown to you," he said
to me. "However, you may partake of them without fear. They are
wholesome and nourishing. For a long time I have renounced the food of
the earth, and I am never ill now. My crew, who are healthy, are fed
on the same food."
    "So," said I, "all these eatables are the produce of the sea?"
    "Yes, Professor, the sea supplies all my wants. Sometimes I cast
my nets in tow, and I draw them in ready to break. Sometimes I hunt in
the midst of this element, which appears to be inaccessible to man,
and quarry the game which dwells in my submarine forests. My flocks,
like those of Neptune's old shepherds, graze fearlessly in the immense
prairies of the ocean. I have a vast property there, which I cultivate
myself, and which is always sown by the hand of the Creator of all
    "I can understand perfectly, Sir, that your nets furnish excellent
fish for your table; I can understand also that you hunt aquatic
game in your submarine forests; but I cannot understand at all how a
particle of meat, no matter how small, can figure in your bill of
    "This, which you believe to be meat, Professor, is nothing else
than fillet of turtle. Here are also some dolphin's livers, which
you take to be ragout of pork. My cook is a clever fellow, who
excels in dressing these various products of the ocean. Taste all
these dishes. Here is a preserve of holothuria, which a Malay would
declare to be unrivaled in the world; here is a cream, of which the
milk has been furnished by the cetacea, and the sugar by the great
fucus of the North Sea; and lastly, permit me to offer you some
preserve of anemones, which is equal to that of the most delicious
    I tasted, more from curiosity than as a connoisseur, while Captain
Nemo enchanted me with his extraordinary stories.
    "You like the sea, Captain?"
    "Yes; I love it! The sea is everything. It covers seven-tenths
of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an
immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life
stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a
supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and
emotion; it is the 'Living Infinite', as one of your poets has said.
In fact, Professor, Nature manifests herself in it by her three
kingdoms, mineral, vegetable, and animal. The sea is the vast
reservoir of Nature. The globe began with sea, so to speak; and who
knows if it will not end with it? In it is supreme tranquility. The
sea does not belong to despots. Upon its surface men can still
exercise unjust laws, fight, tear one another to pieces, and be
carried away with terrestrial horrors. But at thirty feet below its
level, their reign ceases, their influence is quenched, and their
power disappears. Ah! Sir, live- live in the bosom of the waters!
There only is independence! There I recognize no masters! There I am
    Captain Nemo suddenly became silent in the midst of this
enthusiasm, by which he was quite carried away. For a few moments he
paced up and down, much agitated. Then he became more calm, regained
his accustomed coldness of expression, and turning toward me:
    "Now, Professor," said he, "if you wish to go over the Nautilus, I
am at your service."
    Captain Nemo rose. I followed him. A double door, contrived at the
back of the dining room, and I entered a room equal in dimensions to
that I had just quitted.
    It was a library. High pieces of furniture, of black violet
ebony inlaid with brass, supported upon their wide shelves a great
number of books uniformly bound. They followed the shape of the
room, terminating at the lower part in huge divans, covered with brown
leather, which were curved, to afford the greatest comfort. Light
movable desks, made to slide in and out at will, allowed one to rest
one's book while reading. In the center stood an immense table,
covered with pamphlets, among which were some newspapers, already of
old date. The electric light flooded everything; it was shed from four
unpolished globes half sunk in the volutes of the ceiling. I looked
with real admiration at this room, so ingeniously fitted up, and I
could scarcely believe my eyes.
    "Captain Nemo," said I to my host, who had just thrown himself
on one of the divans, "this is a library which would do honor to
more than one of the continental palaces, and I am absolutely
astounded when I consider that it can follow you to the bottom of
the sea."
    "Where could one find greater solitude or silence, Professor?"
replied Captain Nemo. "Did your study in the Museum afford you such
perfect quiet?"
    "No, Sir; and I must confess that it is a very poor one after
yours. You must have six or seven thousand volumes here."
    "Twelve thousand, M. Aronnax. These are the only ties which bind
me to the earth. But I had done with the world on the day when my
Nautilus plunged for the first time beneath the waters. That day I
bought my last volumes, my last pamphlets, my last papers, and from
that time I wish to think that men no longer think or write. These
books, Professor, are at your service besides, and you can make use of
them freely."
    I thanked Captain Nemo, and went up to the shelves of the library.
Works on science, morals, and literature abounded in every language;
but I did not see one single work on political economy; that subject
appeared to be strictly proscribed. Strange to say, all these books
were irregularly arranged, in whatever language they were written; and
this medley proved that the Captain of the Nautilus must have read the
books which he took up by chance.
    "Sir," said I to the captain, "I thank you for having placed
this library at my disposal. It contains treasures of science, and I
shall profit by them."
    "This room is not only a library," said Captain Nemo, "it is
also a smoking room."
    "A smoking room!" I cried. "Then one may smoke on board?"
    "Then, Sir, I am forced to believe that you have kept up a
communication with Havana."
    "Not any," answered the captain. "Accept this cigar, M. Aronnax;
and though it does not come from Havana, you will be pleased with
it, if you are a connoisseur."
    I took the cigar which was offered me; its shape recalled the
London ones, but it seemed to be made of leaves of gold. I lighted
it at a little brazier, which was supported upon an elegant bronze
stem, and drew the first whiffs with the delight of a lover of
smoking who has not smoked for two days.
    "It is excellent," said I, "but it is not tobacco."
    "No!" answered the captain, "this tobacco comes neither from
Havana nor from the East. It is a kind of seaweed, rich in nicotine,
with which the sea provides me, but somewhat sparingly."
    At that moment Captain Nemo opened a door which stood opposite
to that by which I had entered the library and I passed into an
immense drawing room. splendidly lighted.
    It was a vast four-sided room, thirty feet long, eighteen wide,
and fifteen high. A luminous ceiling, decorated with light arabesques,
shed a soft, clear light over all the marvels accumulated in this
museum. For it was in fact a museum, in which an intelligent and
prodigal hand had gathered all the treasures of nature and art, with
the artistic confusion which distinguishes a painter's studio.
    Thirty first-rate pictures, uniformly framed, separated by
bright drapery, ornamented the walls, which were hung with tapestry of
severe design. I saw works of great value, the greater part of which I
had admired in the special collections of Europe, and in the
exhibitions of paintings. The several schools of the old masters
were represented by a Madonna of Raphael, a Virgin of Leonardo da
Vinci, a nymph of Correggio, a woman of Titian, an Adoration of
Veronese, an Assumption of Murillo, a portrait of Holbein, a monk of
Velasquez, a martyr of Ribeira, a fair of Rubens, two Flemish
landscapes of Teniers, three little genre pictures of Gerard Dow,
Metsu, and Paul Potter, two specimens of Gericault and Prudhon, and
some sea pieces of Backhuysen and Vernet. Among the works of modern
painters were pictures with the signatures of Delacroix, Ingres,
Decamp, Troyon, Meissonnier, Daubigny, etc.; and some admirable
statues in marble and bronze, after the finest antique models, stood
upon pedestals in the corners of this magnificent museum. Amazement,
as the captain of the Nautilus had predicted, had already begun to
take possession of me.
    "Professor," said this strange man, "you must excuse the
unceremonious way in which I receive you, and the disorder of this
    "Sir," I answered, "without seeking to know who you are, I
recognize in you an artist."
    "An amateur, nothing more, Sir. Formerly I loved to collect
these beautiful works created by the hand of man. I sought them
greedily, and ferreted them out indefatigably, and I have been able to
bring together some objects of great value. These are my last
souvenirs of that world which is dead to me. In my eyes, your modern
artists are already old; they have two or three thousand years of
existence; I confound them in my own mind. Masters have no age."
    "And these musicians?" said I, pointing out some works of Weber,
Rossini, Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Meyerbeer, Herold, Wagner, Auber,
Gounod, and a number of others, scattered over a large model
piano-organ which occupied one of the panels of the drawing room.
    "These musicians," replied Captain Nemo, "are the contemporaries
of Orpheus; for in the memory of the dead all chronological
differences are effaced; and I am dead, Professor; as much dead as
those of your friends who are sleeping six feet under the earth!"
    Captain Nemo was silent, and seemed lost in a profound reverie.
I contemplated him with deep interest, analyzing in silence the
strange expression of his countenance. Leaning on his elbow against an
angle of a costly mosaic table, he no longer saw me, he had
forgotten my presence.
    I did not disturb this reverie, and continued my observation of
the curiosities which enriched this drawing room.
    Under elegant glass cases, fixed by copper rivets, were classed
and labeled the most precious productions of the sea which had ever
been presented to the eye of a naturalist. My delight as a professor
may be conceived.
    The division containing the zoophytes presented the most curious
specimens of the two groups of polypi and echinodermes. In the first
group, the tubipores, were gorgones arranged like a fan, soft
sponges of Syria, ises of the Molukkas, pennatules, an admirable
virgularia of the Norwegian seas, variegated umbellulairae,
alcyonariae, a whole series of madrepores, which my master Milne
Edwards has so cleverly classified, among which I remarked some
wonderful flabellinae, oculinae of the Island of Bourbon, the
"Neptune's car" of the Antilles, superb varieties of corals, in short,
every species of those curious polypi of which entire islands are
formed, which will one day become continents. Of the echinodermes,
remarkable for their coating of spines, asteri, sea stars,
pantacrinae, comatules, asterophons, echini, holothuri, etc.,
represented individually a complete collection of this group.
    A somewhat nervous conchyliologist would certainly have fainted
before other more numerous cases, in which were classified the
specimens of mollusks. It was a collection of inestimable value, which
time fails me to describe minutely. Among these specimens, I will
quote from memory only the elegant royal hammer fish of the Indian
Ocean, whose regular white spots stood out brightly on a red and brown
ground, an imperial spondyle, bright-colored, bristling with spines, a
rare specimen in the European museums (I estimated its value at not
less than $5,000); a common hammer fish of the seas of New Holland,
which is only procured with difficulty; exotic buccardia of Senegal;
fragile white bivalve shells, which a breath might shatter like a soap
bubble; several varieties of the aspirgillum of Java, a kind of
calcareous tube, edged with leafy folds, and much debated by amateurs;
a whole series of trochi, some a greenish yellow, found in the
American seas, others a reddish brown, natives of Australian waters;
others from the Gulf of Mexico, remarkable for their imbricated shell;
stellari found in the southern seas; and last, the rarest of all,
the magnificent of New Zealand; and every description of delicate
and fragile shells to which science has given appropriate names.
    Apart, in separate compartments, were spread out chaplets of
pearls of the greatest beauty, which reflected the electric light in
little sparks of fire; pink pearls, torn from the pinna-marina of
the Red Sea; green pearls of the haliotyde iris; yellow, blue, and
black pearls, the curious productions of the divers mollusks of
every ocean, and certain mussels of the watercourses of the North;
lastly, several specimens of inestimable value which had been gathered
from the rarest pintadines. Some of these pearls were larger than a
pigeon's egg, and were worth as much and more than that which the
traveler Tavernier sold to the Shah of Persia for three millions,
and surpassed the one in the possession of the Imam of Maskat, which I
had believed to be unrivaled in the world.
    Therefore to estimate the value of this collection was simply
impossible. Captain Nemo must have expended millions in the
acquirement of these various specimens, and I was thinking what source
he could have drawn from, to have been able thus to gratify his
fancy for collecting, when I was interrupted by these words:
    "You are examining my shells, Professor? Unquestionably they
must be interesting to a naturalist; but for me they have a far
greater charm, for I have collected them all with my own hand, and
there is not a sea on the face of the globe which has escaped my
    "I can understand, Captain, the delight of wandering about in
the midst of such riches. You are one of those who have collected
their treasures themselves. No museum in Europe possesses such a
collection of the produce of the ocean. But if I exhaust all my
admiration upon it, I shall have none left for the vessel which
carries it. I do not wish to pry into your secrets; but I must confess
that this Nautilus with the motive power which is confined in it,
the contrivances which enable it to be worked, the powerful agent
which propels it, all excite my curiosity to the highest pitch. I
see suspended on the walls of this room instruments of whose use I
am ignorant."
    "You will find these same instruments in my own room, Professor,
where I shall have much pleasure in explaining their use to you. But
first come and inspect the cabin which is set apart for your own
use. You must see how you will be accommodated on board the Nautilus."
    I followed Captain Nemo, who, by one of the doors opening from
each panel of the drawing room, regained the waist. He conducted me
towards the bow, and there I found, not a cabin, but an elegant
room, with a bed, dressing table, and several other pieces of
    I could only thank my host.
    "Your room adjoins mine," said he, opening a door, "and mine opens
into the drawing room that we have just quitted."
    I entered the captain's room: it had a severe, almost a monkish,
aspect. A small iron bedstead, a table, some articles for the
toilet; the whole lighted by a skylight. No comforts, the strictest
necessities only.
    Captain Nemo pointed to a seat.
    "Be so good as to sit down," he said. I seated myself, and he
began thus:
                           CHAPTER XI.

                       ALL BY ELECTRICITY.

    "SIR," said Captain Nemo, showing me the instruments hanging on
the walls of his room, "here are the contrivances required for the
navigation of the Nautilus. Here, as in the drawing room, I have
them always under my eyes, and they indicate my position and exact
direction in the middle of the ocean. Some are known to you, such as
the thermometer, which gives the internal temperature of the Nautilus;
the barometer, which indicates the weight of the air and foretells the
changes of the weather; the hygrometer, which marks the dryness of the
atmosphere; the storm glass, the contents of which, by decomposing,
announce the approach of tempests; the compass, which guides my
course; the sextant, which shows the latitude by the altitude of the
sun; chronometers, by which I calculate the longitude; and glasses for
day and night, which I use to examine the points of the horizon,
when the Nautilus rises to the surface of the waves."
    "These are the usual nautical instruments," I replied, "and I
know the use of them. But these others, no doubt, answer to the
particular requirements of the Nautilus. This dial with the movable
needle is a manometer, is it not?"
    "It is actually a manometer. But by communication with the
water, whose external pressure it indicates, it gives our depth at the
same time."
    "And these other instruments, the use of which I cannot guess?"
    "Here, Professor, I ought to give you some explanations. Will
you be kind enough to listen to me?"
    He was silent for a few moments, then he said:
    "There is a powerful agent, obedient, rapid, easy, which
conforms to every use, and reigns supreme on board my vessel.
Everything is done by means of it. It lights it, warms it, and is
the soul of my mechanical apparatus. This agent is electricity."
    "Electricity?" I cried in surprise.
    "Yes, Sir."
    "Nevertheless, Captain, you possess an extreme rapidity of
movement, which does not agree well with the power of electricity.
Until now, its dynamic force has remained under restraint, and has
only been able to produce a small amount of power."
    "Professor," said Captain Nemo, "my electricity is not
everybody's. You know what sea water is composed of. In a thousand
grams are found 96 1/2 per cent of water, and about 2 2/3 per cent
of chloride of sodium; then, in a smaller quantity, chlorides of
magnesium and of potassium, bromide of magnesium, sulphate of
magnesia, sulphate and carbonate of lime. You see, then, that chloride
of sodium forms a large part of it. So it is this sodium that I
extract from sea water, and of which I compose my ingredients, I owe
all to the ocean; it produces electricity, and electricity gives heat,
light, motion, and, in a word, life to the Nautilus."
    "But not the air you breathe?"
    "Oh! I could manufacture the air necessary for my consumption, but
it is useless, because I go up to the surface of the water when I
please. However, if electricity does not furnish me with air to
breathe, it works at least the powerful pumps that are stored in
spacious reservoirs, and which enable me to prolong at need, and as
long as I will, my stay in the depths of the sea. It gives a uniform
and unintermittent light, which the sun does not. Now look at this
clock; it is electrical, and goes with a regularity that defies the
best chronometers. I have divided it into twenty-four hours, like
the Italian clocks, because for me there is neither night nor day, sun
nor moon, but only that factitious light that I take with me to the
bottom of the sea. Look! just now, it is ten o'clock in the morning."
    "Another application of electricity. This dial hanging in front of
us indicates the speed of the Nautilus. An electric thread puts it
in communication with the screw, and the needle indicates the real
speed. Look now we are spinning along with a uniform speed of
fifteen miles an hour."
    "It is marvelous! and I see, Captain, you were right to make use
of this agent that takes the place of wind, water, and steam."
    "We have not finished, M. Aronnax," said Captain Nemo, rising; "if
you will follow me, we will examine the stern of the Nautilus."
    Really, I knew already the anterior part of this submarine boat,
of which this is the exact division, starting from the ship's head:
the dining room, five yards long, separated from the library by a
water-tight partition; the library, five yards long; the large drawing
room, ten yards long, separated from the captain's room by a second
watertight partition; the said room, five yards in length; mine, two
and a half yards; and lastly, a reservoir of air, seven and a half
yards, that extended to the bows. Total length thirty-five yards, or
one hundred five feet. The partitions had doors that were shut
hermetically by means of India-rubber instruments, and they insured
the safety of the Nautilus in case of a leak.
    I followed Captain Nemo through the waist, and arrived at the
center of the boat. There was a sort of well that opened between two
partitions. An iron ladder, fastened with an iron hook to the
partition, led to the upper end. I asked the captain what the ladder
was used for.
    "It leads to the small boat," he said.
    "What! have you a boat?" I exclaimed, in surprise.
    "Of course; an excellent vessel, light and insubmersible, that
serves either as a fishing or as a pleasure boat."
    "But then, when you wish to embark, you are obliged to come to the
surface of the water?"
    "Not at all. This boat is attached to the upper part of the hull
of the Nautilus, and it occupies a cavity made for it. It is decked,
quite water-tight, and held together by solid bolts. This ladder leads
to a manhole made in the hull of the Nautilus, that corresponds with a
similar hole made in the side of the boat. By this double opening I
get into the small vessel. They shut the one belonging to the
Nautilus, I shut the other by means of screw pressure. I undo the
bolts, and the little boat goes up to the surface of the sea with
prodigious rapidity. I then open the panel of the bridge, carefully
shut till then; I mast it, hoist my sail, take my oars, and I'm off."
    "But how do you get back on board?"
    "I do not come back, M. Aronnax; the Nautilus comes to me."
    "By your orders?"
    "By my orders. An electric thread connects us. I telegraph to
it, and that is enough."
    "Really," I said, astonished at these marvels, "nothing can be
more simple."
    After having passed by the cage of the staircase that led to the
platform, I saw a cabin six feet long, in which Conseil and Ned
Land, enchanted with their repast, were devouring it with avidity.
Then a door opened into a kitchen nine feet long, situated between the
large storerooms. There electricity, better than gas itself, did all
the cooking. The streams under the furnaces gave out to the sponges of
platina a heat which was regularly kept up and distributed. They
also heated a distilling apparatus, which, by evaporation, furnished
excellent drinkable water. Near this kitchen was a bathroom
comfortable furnished, with hot and cold water taps.
    Next to the kitchen was the berth room of the vessel, sixteen feet
long. But the door was shut, and I could not see the management of it,
which might have given me an idea of the number of men employed on
board the Nautilus.
    At the bottom was a fourth partition that separated this office
from the engine room. A door opened, and I found myself in the
compartment where Captain Nemo- certainly an engineer of a very high
order- had arranged his locomotive machinery. This engine room,
clearly lighted, did not measure less than sixty-five feet in
length. It was divided into two parts; the first contained the
materials for producing electricity, and the second the machinery that
connected it with the screw. I examined it with great interest, in
order to understand the machinery of the Nautilus.
    "You see," said the captain, "I use Bunsen's contrivances, not
Ruhmkorff's. Those would not have been powerful enough. Bunsen's are
fewer in number, but strong and large, which experience proves to be
the best. The electricity produced passes forward, where it works,
by electromagnets of great size, on a system of levers and cogwheels
that transmit the movement to the axle of the screw. This one, the
diameter of which is nineteen feet, and the thread twenty-three
feet, performs about a hundred twenty revolutions in a second."
    "And you get then?"
    "A speed of fifty miles an hour."
    "I have seen the Nautilus maneuver before the Abraham Lincoln, and
I have my own ideas as to its speed. But this is not enough. We must
see where we go. We must be able to direct it to the right, to the
left, above, below. How do you get to the great depths, where you find
an increasing resistance, which is rated by hundreds of atmospheres?
How do you return to the surface of the ocean? And how do you maintain
yourselves in the requisite medium? Am I asking too much?
    "Not at all, Professor," replied the captain, with some
hesitation; "since you may never leave this submarine boat. Come
into the saloon, it is our usual study, and there you will learn all
you want to know about the Nautilus."
                          CHAPTER XII.

                          SOME FIGURES.

    A MOMENT after we were seated on a divan in the saloon smoking.
The captain showed me a sketch that gave the plan, section, and
elevation of the Nautilus. Then he began his description in these
    "Here, M. Aronnax, are the several dimensions of the boat you
are in. It is an elongated cylinder with conical ends. It is very like
a cigar in shape, a shape already adopted in London in several
constructions of the same sort. The length of this cylinder, from
stern to stern, is exactly 232 feet, and its maximum breadth is 26
feet. It is not built quite like your long-voyage steamers, but its
lines are sufficiently long, and its curves prolonged enough, to allow
the water to slide off easily, and oppose no obstacle to its
passage. These two dimensions enable you to obtain by a simple
calculation the surface and cubic contents of the Nautilus. Its area
measures 6,032 feet; and its contents about 1,500 cubic yards; that is
to say, when completely immersed it displaces 50,000 feet of water, or
weighs 1,500 tons.
    "When I made the plans for this submarine vessel, I meant that
nine tenths should be submerged; consequently it ought only to
displace nine tenths of its bulk; that is to say, only to weigh that
number of tons. I ought not, therefore, to have exceeded that
weight, constructing it on the aforesaid dimensions.
    "The Nautilus is composed of two hulls, one inside, the other
outside, joined by T-shaped irons, which render it very strong.
Indeed, owing to this cellular arrangement it resists like a block, as
if it were solid. Its sides cannot yield; it coheres spontaneously,
and not by the closeness of its rivets; and the homogeneity of its
construction, due to the perfect union of the materials, enables it to
defy the roughest seas.
    "These two hulls are composed of steel plates, whose density is
from .7 to .8 that of water. The first is not less than two inches and
a half thick, and weighs 394 tons. The second envelope, the keel,
twenty inches high and ten thick, weighs alone sixty-two tons. The
engine, the ballast, the several accessories and apparatus appendages,
the partitions and bulkheads, weigh 961.62 tons. Do you follow all
    "I do."
    "Then, when the Nautilus is afloat under these circumstances,
one tenth is out of the water. Now, if I have made reservoirs of a
size equal to this tenth, or capable of holding 150 tons, and if I
fill them with water, the boat, weighing then 1,507 tons, will be
completely immersed. That would happen, Professor. These reservoirs
are in the lower parts of the Nautilus. I turn on taps and they
fill, and the vessel sinks that had just been level with the surface."
    "Well Captain, but now we come to the real difficulty. I can
understand your rising to the surface; but diving below the surface,
does not your submarine contrivance encounter a pressure, and
consequently undergo an upward thrust of one atmosphere for every
thirty feet of water, just about fifteen pounds to a square inch?"
    "Just so, Sir."
    "Then, unless you quite fill the Nautilus, I do not see how you
can draw it down to those depths."
    "Professor, you must not confound statics with dynamics, or you
will be exposed to grave errors. There is very little labor spent in
attaining the lower regions of the ocean, for all bodies have a
tendency to sink. When I wanted to find out the necessary increase
of weight required to sink the Nautilus, I had only to calculate the
reduction of volume that sea water acquires according to the depth."
    "That is evident."
    "Now, if water is not absolutely incompressible, it is at least
capable of very slight compression. Indeed, after the most recent
calculations this reduction is only .000436 of an atmosphere for
each thirty feet of depth. If we want to sink 3,000 feet, I should
keep account of the reduction of bulk under a pressure equal to that
of a column of water of a thousand feet. The calculation is easily
verified. Now, I have supplementary reservoirs capable of holding a
hundred tons. Therefore I can sink to a considerable depth. When I
wish to rise to the level of the sea, I only let off the water, and
empty all the reservoirs if I want the Nautilus to emerge from the
tenth part of her total capacity."
    I had nothing to object to these reasonings.
    "I admit your calculations, Captain," I replied; "I should be
wrong to dispute them since daily experience confirms them; I
foresee a real difficulty in the way."
    "What, Sir?"
    "When you are about 1,000 feet deep, the walls of the Nautilus
bear a pressure of 100 atmospheres. If, then, just now you were to
empty the supplementary reservoirs, to lighten the vessel, and to go
up to the surface, the pumps must overcome the pressure of 100
atmospheres, which is 1,500 lbs. to a square inch. From that a power"-
    "That electricity alone can give," said the captain, hastily. "I
repeat, Sir, that the dynamic power of my engines is almost
infinite. The pumps of the Nautilus have an enormous power, as you
must have observed when their jets of water burst like a torrent
upon the Abraham Lincoln. Besides I use subsidiary reservoirs only
to attain a mean depth of 750 to 1,000 fathoms, and that with a view
of managing my machines. Also, when I have a mind to visit the
depths of the ocean five or six miles below the surface, I make use of
slower but not less infallible means."
    "What are they, Captain?"
    "That involves my telling you how the Nautilus is worked."
    "I am impatient to learn."
    "To steer this boat to starboard or port, to turn, in a word,
following a horizontal plane, I use an ordinary rudder fixed on the
back of the sternpost, and with one wheel and some tackle to steer by.
But I can also make the Nautilus rise and sink, and sink and rise,
by a vertical movement by means of two inclined planes fastened to its
sides, opposite the center of flotation, planes that move in every
direction, and that are worked by powerful levers from the interior.
If the planes are kept parallel with the boat, it moves
horizontally. If slanted, the Nautilus, according to this inclination,
and under the influence of the screw, either sinks, diagonally or
rises diagonally as it suits me. And even if I wish to rise more
quickly to the surface, I ship the screw, and the pressure of the
water causes the Nautilus to rise vertically like a balloon filled
with hydrogen."
    "Bravo, Captain! But how can the steersman follow the route in the
middle of the waters?"
    "The steersman is placed in a glazed box, that is raised above the
hull of the Nautilus, and furnished with lenses."
    "Are these lenses capable of resisting such pressure?"
    "Perfectly. Glass, which breaks at a blow, is, nevertheless,
capable of offering considerable resistance. During some experiments
of fishing by electric light in 1864 in the northern seas, we saw
plates less than a third of an inch thick resist a pressure of sixteen
atmospheres. Now, the glass that I use is not less than thirty times
    "Granted. But, after all, in order to see, the light must exceed
the darkness, and in the midst of the darkness in the water, how can
you see?"
    "Behind the steersman's cage is placed a powerful electric
reflector, the rays from which light up the sea for half a mile in
    "Ah! bravo, bravo, Captain! Now I can account for this
phosphorescence in the supposed narwhal that puzzled us so. I now
ask you if the boarding of the Nautilus and of the Scotia, that has
made such a noise, has been the result of a chance rencontre?"
    "Quite accidental, Sir. I was sailing only one fathom below the
surface of the water, when the shock came. It had no bad result."
    "None, Sir. But now, about your rencontre with the Abraham
    "Professor, I am sorry for one of the best vessels in the American
navy; but they attacked me, and I was bound to defend myself. I
contented myself, however, with putting the frigate hors de combat:
she will not have any difficulty in getting repaired at the next
    "Ah, Commander! your Nautilus is certainly a marvelous boat."
    "Yes, Professor; and I love it as if it were part of myself. If
danger threatens one of your vessels on the ocean, the first
impression is the feeling of an abyss above and below. On the Nautilus
men's hearts never fail them. No defects to be afraid of, for the
double shell is as firm as iron; no rigging to attend to; no sails for
the wind to carry away; no boilers to burst; no fire to fear, for
the vessel is made of iron, not of wood; no coal to run short, for
electricity is the only mechanical agent; no collision to fear, for it
alone swims in deep water; no tempest to brave, for when it dives
below the water, it reaches absolute tranquility. There, Sir! that is
the perfection of vessels! And if it is true that the engineer has
more confidence in the vessel than the builder, and the builder than
the captain himself, you understand the trust I repose in my Nautilus;
for I am at once, captain, builder, and engineer."
    "But how could you construct this wonderful Nautilus in secret?"
    "Each separate portion, M. Aronnax, was brought from different
parts of the globe. The keel was forged at Creusot, the shaft of the
screw at Penn & Co.'s, London, the iron plates of the hull at
Laird's of Liverpool, the screw itself at Scott's at Glasgow. The
reservoirs were made by Cail & Co. at Paris, the engine by Krupp in
Prussia, its beak in Motala's workshop in Sweden, its mathematical
instruments by Hart Brothers, of New York, etc.; and each of these
people had my orders under different names."
    "But these parts had to be put together and arranged?"
    "Professor, I had set up my workshops upon a desert island in
the ocean. There my workmen, that is to say, the brave men that I
instructed and educated, and myself have put together our Nautilus.
Then, when the work was finished, fire destroyed all trace of our
proceedings on this island, that I could have jumped over if I had
    "Then the cost this vessel is great?"
    "M. Aronnax, an iron vessel costs L45 a ton. Now the Nautilus
weighed 1,500. It came therefore to L67,500, and L80,000 more for
fitting it and about L200,000 with the works of art and the
collections it contains."
    "One last question, Captain Nemo."
    "Ask it, Professor."
    "You are rich?"
    "Immensely rich, Sir; and I could, without missing it, pay the
national debt of France."
    I stared at the singular person: who spoke thus. Was he playing
upon my credulity? The future would decide that.
                          CHAPTER XIII.

                        THE BLACK RIVER.

    THE portion of the terrestrial globe which is covered by water
is estimated at upwards of eighty millions of acres. This fluid mass
comprises two billions two hundred fifty millions of cubic miles,
forming a spherical body of a diameter of sixty leagues, the weight of
which would be three quintillions of tons. To comprehend the meaning
of these figures, it is necessary to observe that a quintillion is
to a billion as a billion is to unity; in other words, there are as
many billions in a quintillion as there are units in a billion. This
mass of fluid is equal to about the quantity of water which would be
discharged by all the rivers of the earth in forty thousand years.
    During the geological epochs, the igneous period succeeded to
the aqueous. The ocean originally prevailed everywhere. Then by
degrees, in the silurian period, the tops of the mountains began to
appear, the islands emerged, then disappeared in partial deluges,
reappeared, became settled, formed continents, till at length the
earth became geographically arranged, as we see in the present day.
The solid had wrested from the liquid thirty-seven million six hundred
fifty-seven square miles, equal to twelve billions nine hundred
sixty millions of acres.
    The shape of continents allows us to divide the waters into five
great portions: the Arctic or Frozen Ocean, the Antarctic or Frozen
Ocean, the Indian, the Atlantic, and the Pacific Oceans.
    The Pacific Ocean extends from north to south between the two
polar circles, and from east to west between Asia and America, over an
extent of 145 degrees of longitude. It is the quietest of seas; its
currents are broad and slow; it has medium tides, and abundant rain.
Such was the ocean that my fate destined me first to travel over under
these strange conditions.
    "Sir," said Captain Nemo, "we will, if you please, take our
bearings and fix the starting point of this voyage. It is a quarter to
twelve, I will go up again to the surface."
    The Captain pressed an electric clock three times. The pumps began
to drive the water from the tanks; the needle of the manometer
marked by a different pressure the ascent of the Nautilus, then it
    "We have arrived," said the Captain.
    I went to the central staircase which opened on to the platform,
clambered up the iron steps, and found myself on the upper part of the
    The platform was only three feet out of water. The front and
back of the Nautilus were of that spindle shape which caused it justly
to be compared to a cigar. I noticed that its iron plates, slightly
overlaying one another, resembled the shell which clothes the bodies
of our large terrestrial reptiles. It explained to me how natural it
was, in spite of all glasses, that this boat should have been taken
for a marine animal.
    Toward the middle of the platform, the longboat, half buried in
the hull of the vessel, formed a slight excrescence. Fore and aft rose
two cages of medium height with inclined sides, and partly closed by
thick lenticular glasses; one destined for the steersman who
directed the Nautilus the other containing a brilliant lantern to give
light on the road.
    The sea was beautiful, the sky pure. Scarcely could the long
vehicle feel the broad undulations of the ocean. A light breeze from
the east rippled the surface of the waters. The horizon, free from
fog, made observation easy. Nothing was in sight. Not a quicksand, not
an island. A vast desert.
    Captain Nemo, by the help of his sextant, took the altitude of the
sun, which ought also to give the latitude. He waited for some moments
till its disc touched the horizon. While taking observations, not a
muscle moved, the instrument could not have been more motionless in
a hand of marble.
    "Twelve o'clock, sir," said he. "When you like"-
    I cast a last look upon the sea, slightly yellowed by the Japanese
coast, and descended to the saloon.
    "And now, sir, I leave you to your studies," added the captain;
"our course is E.N.E., our depth is twenty-six fathoms. Here are
maps on a large scale by which you may follow it. The saloon is at
your disposal, and with your permission I will retire." Captain Nemo
bowed, and I remained alone, lost in thoughts all bearing on the
commander of the Nautilus.
    For a whole hour was I deep in these reflections, seeking to
pierce this mystery so interesting to me. Then my eyes fell upon the
vast planisphere spread upon the table, and I placed my finger on
the very spot where the given latitude and longitude crossed.
    The sea has its large rivers like the continents. They are special
currents known by their temperature and their color. The most
remarkable of these is known by the name of the Gulf Stream. Science
has decided on the globe the direction of five principal currents: one
in the North Atlantic, a second in the South, a third in the North
Pacific, a fourth in the South, and a fifth in the southern Indian
Ocean. It is even probable that a sixth current existed at one time or
another in the northern Indian Ocean, when the Caspian and Aral seas
formed but one vast sheet of water.
    At this point indicated on the planisphere, one of these
currents was rolling the Kuro-Scivo of the Japanese, the Black River
which, leaving the Gulf of Bengal where it is warmed by the
perpendicular rays of a tropical sun, crosses the Straits of Malacca
along the coast of Asia, turns into the North Pacific to the
Aleutian Islands, carrying with it trunks of camphor trees and other
indigenous productions, and edging the waves of the ocean with the
pure indigo of its warm water. It was this current that the Nautilus
was to follow. I followed it with my eye; saw it lose itself in the
vastness of the Pacific, and felt myself drawn with it, when Ned
Land and Conseil appeared at the door of the saloon.
    My two brave companions remained petrified at the sight of the
wonders spread before them.
    "Where are we, where are we?" exclaimed the Canadian. "In the
Museum at Quebec?"
    "My friends," I answered, making a sign for them to enter, "you
are not in Canada, but on board the Nautilus fifty yards below the
level of the sea."
    "But, M. Aronnax," said Ned Land, "can you tell me how many men
there are on board? Ten, twenty, fifty, a hundred?"
    "I cannot answer you, Mr. Land; it is better to abandon for a time
all idea of seizing the Nautilus or escaping from it. This ship is a
masterpiece of modern industry, and I should be sorry not to have seen
it. Many people would accept the situation forced upon us, if only
to move among such wonders. So be quiet and let us try and see what
passes around us."
    "See!" exclaimed the harpooner, "but we can see nothing in this
iron prison! We are walking, we are sailing blindly."
    Ned Land had scarcely pronounced these words when all was suddenly
darkness. The luminous ceiling was gone, and so rapidly that my eyes
received a painful impression.
    We remained mute, not stirring, and not knowing what surprise
awaited us, whether agreeable or disagreeable. A sliding noise was
heard: one would have said that panels were working at the sides of
the Nautilus.
    "It is the end of the end!" said Ned land.
    Suddenly light broke at each side of the saloon, through two
oblong openings. The liquid mass appeared vividly lit up by the
electric gleam. Two crystal plates separated us from the sea. At first
I trembled at the thought that this frail partition might break, but
strong bands of copper bound them, giving an almost infinite power
of resistance.
    The sea was distinctly visible for a mile all round the
Nautilus. What a spectacle! What pen can describe it? Who could
paint the effects of the light through those transparent sheets of
water, and the softness of the successive gradations from the lower to
the superior strata of the ocean?
    We know the transparency of the sea, and that its clearness is far
beyond that of rock water. The mineral and organic substances, which
it holds in suspension, heightens its transparency. In certain parts
of the ocean at the Antilles, under seventy-five fathoms of water, can
be seen with surprising clearness a bed of sand. The penetrating power
of the solar rays does not seem to cease for a depth of one hundred
fifty fathoms. But in this middle fluid traveled over by the Nautilus,
the electric brightness was produced even in the bosom of the waves.
It was no longer luminous water, but liquid light.
    On each side a window opened into this unexplored abyss. The
obscurity of the saloon showed to advantage the brightness outside,
and we looked out as if this pure crystal had been the glass of an
immense aquarium.
    "You wished to see, friend Ned; well, you see now."
    "Curious! curious!" muttered the Canadian, who, forgetting his ill
temper, seemed to submit to some irresistible attraction; "and one
would come farther than this to admire such a sight!"
    "Ah!" thought I to myself, "I understand the life of this man;
he has made a world apart for himself, in which he treasures all his
greatest wonders."
    For two whole hours an aquatic army escorted the Nautilus.
During their games, their bounds, while rivaling one another in
beauty, brightness, and velocity, I distinguished the green labre; the
banded mullet, marked by a double line of black; the round-tailed
goby, of a white color, with violet spots on the back; the Japanese
scombrus, a beautiful mackerel of these seas, with a blue, body and
silvery head; the brilliant azurors, whose name alone defies
description; some banded spares, with variegated fins of blue and
yellow; some aclostons, the woodcocks of the seas, some specimens of
which attain a yard in length; Japanese salamanders, spider
lampreys, serpents six feet long, with eyes small and lively, and a
huge mouth bristling with teeth; with many other species.
    Our imagination was kept at its height, interjections followed
quickly on one another. Ned named the fish, and Conseil classed
them. I was in ecstasies with the vivacity of their movements and
the beauty of their forms. Never had it been given to me to surprise
these animals, alive and at liberty, in their natural element. I
will not mention all the varieties which passed before my dazzled
eyes, all the collection of the seas of China and Japan. These fish,
more numerous than the birds of the air, came, attracted, no doubt, by
the brilliant focus of the electric light.
    Suddenly there was daylight in the saloon, the iron panels
closed again, and the enchanting vision disappeared. But for a long
time I dreamt on till my eyes fell on the instruments hanging on the
partition. The compass still showed the course to be E.N.E., the
manometer indicated a pressure of five atmospheres, equivalent to a
depth of twenty-five fathoms, and the electric log gave a speed of
fifteen miles an hour. I expected Captain Nemo, but he did not appear.
The clock marked the hour of five.
    Ned Land and Conseil returned to their cabin, and I retired to
my chamber. My dinner was ready. It was composed of turtle soup made
of the most delicate hawks-bills, of a surmullet served with puff
paste (the liver of which, prepared by itself, was most delicious),
and fillets of the emperor-holacanthus, the savor of which seemed to
me superior even to salmon.
    I passed the evening reading, writing, and thinking. Then sleep
overpowered me, and I stretched myself on my couch of zostera, and
slept profoundly, while the Nautilus was gliding rapidly through the
current of the Black River.
                          CHAPTER XIV.

                      A NOTE OF INVITATION.

    THE next day was November 9. I awoke after a long sleep of
twelve hours. Conseil came, according to custom, to know "how I had
passed the night," and to offer his services. He had left his friend
the Canadian sleeping like a man who had never done anything else
all his life. I let the worthy fellow chatter as he pleased, without
caring to answer him. I was preoccupied by the absence of the
captain during our sitting of the day before, and hoping to see him
    As soon as I was dressed, I went into the saloon. It was deserted.
    I plunged into the study of the conchological treasures hidden
behind the glasses. I reveled also in great herbals filled with the
rarest marine plants, which, although dried up, retained their
lovely colors. Among these precious hydrophytes I remarked some
vorticellae, pavonariae, delicate ceramies with scarlet tints, some
fan-shaped agari, and some natabuli like flat mushrooms, which at
one time used to be classed as zoophytes; in short, a perfect series
of algae.
    The whole day passed without my being honored by a visit from
Captain Nemo. The panels of the saloon did not open. Perhaps they
did not wish us to tire of these beautiful things.
    The course of the Nautilus was E.N.E., her speed twelve knots, the
depth below the surface between twenty-five and thirty fathoms.
    The next day, November 10, the same desertion, the same
solitude. I did not see one of the ship's crew. Ned and Conseil
spent the greater part of the day with me. They were astonished at the
inexplicable absence of the captain. Was this singular man ill? Had he
altered his intentions with regard to us?
    After all, as Conseil said, we enjoyed perfect liberty, we were
delicately and abundantly fed. Our host kept to his terms of the
treaty. We could not complain, and, indeed, the singularity of our
fate reserved such wonderful compensation for us, that we had no right
to accuse it as yet.
    That day I commenced the journal of these adventures which has
enabled me to relate them with more scrupulous exactitude and minute
detail. I wrote it on paper made from the zosteria marina.
    November 11, early in the morning. The fresh air spreading over
the interior of the Nautilus told me that we had come to the surface
of the ocean to renew our supply of oxygen. I directed my steps to the
central staircase, and mounted the platform.
    It was six o'clock, the weather was cloudy, the sea gray but calm.
Scarcely a billow. Captain Nemo, whom I hoped to meet, would he be
there? I saw no one but the steersman imprisoned in his glass cage.
Seated upon the projection formed by the hull of the pinnace, I
inhaled the salt breeze with delight.
    By degrees the fog disappeared under the action of the sun's rays,
the radiant orb rose from behind the eastern horizon. The sea flamed
under its glance like a train of gunpowder. The clouds scattered in
the heights were colored with lively tints of beautiful shades, and
numerous "mare's tails," which betokened wind for that day. But what
was wind to this Nautilus which tempests could not frighten!
    I was admiring this joyous rising of the sun, so gay and so
life-giving, when I heard steps approaching the platform. I was
prepared to salute Captain Nemo, but it was his second (whom I had
already seen on the captain's first visit) who appeared. He advanced
on the platform not seeming to see me. With his powerful glass to
his eye he scanned every point of the horizon with great attention.
This examination over, he approached the panel and pronounced a
sentence in exactly these terms. I have remembered it, for every
morning it was repeated under exactly the same conditions. It was thus
    "Nautron respoc lorni virch."
    What it meant, I could not say.
    These words pronounced, the second descended. I thought that the
Nautilus was about to return to its submarine navigation. I regained
the panel and returned to my chamber.
    Five days sped thus, without any change in our situation. Every
morning I mounted the platform. The same phrase was pronounced by
the same individual. But Captain Nemo did not appear.
    I had made up my mind that I should never see him again, when,
on November 16, on returning to my room with Ned and Conseil, I
found upon my table a note addressed to me. I opened it impatiently.
It was written in a bold, clear hand, the characters rather pointed,
recalling the German type. The note was worded as follows:

          "TO PROFESSOR ARONNAX, on board the Nautilus.
                                            "16th of November 1867.

    "Captain Nemo invites Professor Aronnax to a hunting party, which
will take place tomorrow morning in the forests of the Island of
Crespo. He hopes that nothing will prevent the Professor from being
present, and he will with pleasure see him joined by his companions.

                         "CAPTAIN NEMO, Commander of the Nautilus."

    "A hunt!" exclaimed Ned.
    "And in the forests of the Island of Crespo!" added Conseil.
    "Oh! then the gentleman is going on terra firma?" replied Ned
    "That seems to me to be clearly indicated," said I, reading the
letter once more.
    "Well, we must accept," said the Canadian. "But once more on dry
ground, we shall know what to do. Indeed, I shall not be sorry to
eat a piece of fresh venison."
    Without seeking to reconcile what was contradictory between
Captain Nemo's manifest aversion to islands and continents, and his
invitation to hunt in a forest, I contented myself with replying:
    "Let us first see where the Island of Crespo is."
    I consulted the planisphere, and in 32 degrees 40' north latitude,
and 157 degrees 50' west longitude, I found a small island, recognized
in 1801 by Captain Crespo, and marked in the ancient Spanish maps as
Rocca de la Plata, the meaning of which is "The Silver Rock." We
were then about eighteen hundred miles from our starting point, and
the course of the Nautilus, a little changed, was bringing it back
toward the southeast.
    I showed this little rock lost in the midst of the North Pacific
to my companions.
    "If Captain Nemo does sometimes go on dry ground," said I, "he
at least chooses desert islands."
    Ned Land shrugged his shoulders without speaking, and Conseil
and he left me.
    After supper, which was served by the steward, mute and impassive,
I went to bed, not without some anxiety.
    The next morning, November 17, on awakening I felt that the
Nautilus was perfectly still. I dressed quickly and entered the
    Captain Nemo was there, waiting for me. He rose, bowed, and
asked me if it was convenient for me to accompany him. As he made no
allusion to his absence during the last eight days, I did not
mention it, and simply answered that my companions and myself were
ready to follow him.
    We entered the dining room, where breakfast was served.
    "M. Aronnax," said the captain, "pray, share my breakfast
without ceremony; we will chat as we eat. For though I promised you
a walk in the forest, I did not undertake to find hotels there. So
breakfast as a man who will most likely not have his dinner till
very late."
    I did honor to the repast. It was composed of several kinds of
fish, and slices of holothuridae (excellent zoophytes), and
different sorts of seaweed. Our drink consisted of pure water, to
which the captain added some drops of a fermented liquor, extracted by
the Kamchatka method from a seaweed known under the name of Rhodomenia
palmata. Captain Nemo ate at first without saying a word. Then he
    "Sir, when I proposed to you to hunt in my submarine forest of
Crespo, you evidently thought me mad. Sir, you should never judge
lightly of any man."
    "But, Captain, believe me"-
    "Be kind enough to listen, and you will then see whether you
have any cause to accuse me of folly and contradiction."
    "I listen."
    "You know as well as I do, Professor, that man can live under
water, providing he carries with him a sufficient supply of breathable
air. In submarine works, the workman, clad in an impervious dress,
with his head in a metal helmet, receives air from above by means of
forcing pumps and regulators."
    "That is a diving apparatus," said I.
    "Just so, but under these conditions the man is not at liberty; he
is attached to the pump which sends him air through an India-rubber
tube, and if we were obliged to be thus held to the Nautilus, we could
not go far."
    "And the means of getting free?" I asked.
    "It is to use the Rouquayrol apparatus, invented by two of your
own countrymen, which I have brought to perfection for my own use, and
which will allow you to risk yourself under these new physiological
conditions, without any organ whatever suffering. It consists of a
reservoir of thick iron plates, in which I store the air under a
pressure of fifty atmospheres. This reservoir is fixed on the back
by means of braces, like a soldier's knapsack. Its upper part forms
a box in which the air is kept by means of a bellows, and therefore
cannot escape unless at its normal tension. In the Rouquayrol
apparatus such as we use, two India-rubber pipes leave this box and
join a sort of tent which holds the nose and mouth; one is to
introduce fresh air, the other to let out the foul, and the tongue
closes one or the other according to the wants of the respirator.
But I, in encountering great pressure at the bottom of the sea, was
obliged to shut my head, like that of a diver, in a ball of copper;
and it is to this ball of copper that the two pipes, the inspirator
and the expirator, open."
    "Perfectly, Captain Nemo; but the air that you carry with you must
soon be used; when it only contains fifteen per cent of oxygen, it
is no longer fit to breathe."
    "Right! but I told you, M. Aronnax, that the pumps of the Nautilus
allow me to store the air under considerable pressure, and on those
conditions, the reservoir of the apparatus can furnish breathable
air for nine or ten hours."
    "I have no further objections to make," I answered; "I will only
ask you one thing, Captain: how can you light your road at the
bottom of the sea?"
    "With the Ruhmkorff apparatus, M. Aronnax; one is carried on the
back, the other is fastened to the waist. It is composed of a Bunsen
pile, which I do not work with bichromate of potash, but with
sodium. A wire is introduced which collects the electricity
produced, and directs it toward a particularly made lantern. In this
lantern is a spiral glass which contains a small quantity of
carbonic gas. When the apparatus is at work, this gas becomes
luminous, giving out a white and continuous light. Thus provided, I
can breathe and I can see."
    "Captain Nemo, to all my objections you make such crushing
answers, that I dare no longer doubt. But if I am forced to admit
the Rouquayrol and Ruhmkorff apparatus, I must be allowed some
reservations with regard to the gun I am to carry."
    "But it is not a gun for powder," answered the captain.
    "Then it is an air gun."
    "Doubtless! How would you have me manufacture gunpowder on
board, without either saltpeter, sulphur, or charcoal?"
    "Besides," I added, "to fire under water in a medium eight hundred
fifty-five times denser than the air, we must conquer very
considerable resistance."
    "That would be no difficulty. There exist guns, according to
Fulton, perfected in England by Philip. Coles and Burley, in France by
Furcy, and in Italy by Landi, which are furnished with a peculiar
system of closing, which can fire under these conditions. But I
repeat, having no powder, I use air under great pressure, which the
pumps of the Nautilus furnish abundantly."
    "But this air must be rapidly used?"
    "Well, have I not my Rouquayrol reservoir, which can furnish it at
need? A tap is all that is required. Besides, M. Aronnax, you must see
yourself that, during our submarine hunt, we can spend but little
air and but few balls."
    "But it seems to me that in this twilight, and in the midst of
this fluid, which is very dense compared with the atmosphere, shots
could not go far, nor easily prove mortal."
    "Sir, on the contrary, with this gun every blow is mortal; and
however lightly the animal is touched, it falls as if struck by a
    "Because the balls sent by this gun are not ordinary balls, but
little cases of glass (invented by Leniebroek, an Austrian chemist),
of which I have a large supply. These glass cases are covered with a
case of steel, and weighted with a pellet of lead; they are real
Leyden bottles, into which the electricity is forced to a very high
tension. With the slightest shock they are discharged, and the animal,
however strong it may be, falls dead. I must tell you that these cases
are size number four, and that the charge for an ordinary gun would be
    "I will argue no longer," I replied, rising from the table; "I
have nothing left me but to take my gun. At all events, I will go
where you go."
    Captain Nemo then led me aft; and in passing before Ned and
Conseil's cabin, I called my two companions, who followed immediately.
We then came to a kind of cell near the machinery room, in which we
were to put on our walking suits.
                           CHAPTER XV.

                A WALK ON THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA.

    THIS cell was, to speak correctly, the arsenal and wardrobe of the
Nautilus. A dozen diving apparatus hung from the partition waiting our
    Ned Land, on seeing them, showed evident repugnance to dress
himself in one.
    "But, my worthy Ned, the forests of the Island of Crespo are
nothing but submarine forests."
    "Good!" said the disappointed harpooner, who saw his dreams of
fresh meat fade away. "And you, M. Aronnax, are you going to dress
yourself in those clothes?"
    "There is no alternative, Master Ned."
    "As you please, sir," replied the harpooner, shrugging his
shoulders; "but as for me, unless I am forced, I will never get into
    "No one will force you, Master Ned," said Captain Nemo.
    "Is Conseil going to risk it?" asked Ned.
    "I follow my master wherever he goes," replied Conseil.
    At the captain's call two of the ship's crew came to help us to
dress in these heavy and impervious clothes, made of India rubber
without seam, and constructed expressly to resist considerable
pressure. One would have thought it a suit of armor, both supple and
resisting. This suit formed trousers and waistcoat. The trousers
were finished off with thick boots, weighted with heavy leaden
soles. The texture of the waistcoat was held together by bands of
copper, which crossed the chest, protecting it from the great pressure
of the water, and leaving the lungs free to act; the sleeves ended
in gloves, which in no way restrained the movement of the hands. There
was a vast difference noticeable between these consummate apparatus
and the old cork breastplates, jackets, and other contrivances in
vogue during the eighteenth century.
    Captain Nemo and one of his companions (a sort of Hercules, who
must have possessed great strength), Conseil, and myself, were soon
enveloped in the suits. There remained nothing more to be done but
to inclose our heads in the metal box. But before proceeding to this
operation, I asked the captain's permission to examine the guns we
were to carry.
    One of the Nautilus men gave me a simple gun, the butt end of
which, made of steel, hollow in the center, was rather large. It
served as a reservoir for compressed air, which a valve, worked by a
spring, allowed to escape into a metal tube. A box of projectiles,
in a groove in the thickness of the butt end, contained about twenty
of these electric balls, which, by means of a spring, were forced into
the barrel of the gun. As soon as one shot was fired, another was
    "Captain Nemo," said I, "this arm is perfect, and easily
handled; I only ask to be allowed to try it. But how shall we gain the
bottom of the sea?"
    "At this moment, Professor, the Nautilus is stranded in five
fathoms, and we have nothing to do but to start."
    "But how shall we get off?"
    "You shall see."
    Captain Nemo thrust his head into the helmet, Conseil and I did
the same, not without hearing an ironical, "Good sport!" from the
Canadian. The upper part of our suit terminated in a copper collar,
upon which was screwed the metal helmet. Three holes, protected by
thick glass, allowed us to see in all directions, by simply turning
our head in the interior of the headdress. As soon as it was in
position, the Rouquayrol apparatus on our backs began to act; and, for
my part, I could breathe with ease.
    With the Ruhmkorff lamp hanging from my belt, and the gun in my
hand, I was ready to set out. But to speak the truth, imprisoned in
these heavy garments, and glued to the deck by my leaden soles, it was
impossible for me to take a step.
    But this state of things was provided for. I felt myself being
pushed into a little room contiguous to the wardrobe room. My
companions followed, towed along in the same way. I heard a
water-tight door, furnished with stopper plates, close upon us, and we
were wrapped in profound darkness.
    After some minutes, a loud hissing was heard. I felt the cold
mount from my feet to my chest. Evidently from some part of the vessel
they had, by means of a tap, given entrance to the water, which was
invading us, and with which the room was soon filled. A second door
cut in the side of the Nautilus then opened. We saw a faint light.
In another instant our feet trod the bottom of the sea.
    And now, how can I retrace the impression left upon me by that
walk under the waters? Words are impotent to relate such wonders!
Captain Nemo walked in front; his companion followed some steps
behind. Conseil and I remained near each other, as if an exchange of
words had been possible through our metallic cases. I no longer felt
the weight of my clothing or of my shoes, of my reservoir of air or my
thick helmet, in the midst of which my head rattled like an almond
in its shell.
    The light, which lit the soil thirty feet below the surface of the
ocean, astonished me by its power. The solar rays shone through the
watery mass easily, and dissipated all color, and I clearly
distinguished objects at a distance of a hundred fifty yards. Beyond
that, the tints darkened into fine gradations of ultramarine, and
faded into vague obscurity. Truly this water which surrounded me was
but another air denser than the terrestrial atmosphere, but almost
as transparent. Above me was the calm surface of the sea. We were
walking on fine, even sand, not wrinkled, as on a flat shore, which
retains the impression of the billows. This dazzling carpet, really
a reflector, repelled the rays of the sun with wonderful intensity,
which accounted for the vibration which penetrated every atom of
liquid. Shall I be believed when I say that, at the depth of thirty
feet, I could see as if I was in broad daylight?
    For a quarter of an hour I trod on this sand, sown with the
impalpable dust of shells. The hull of the Nautilus, resembling a long
shoal, disappeared by degrees; but its lantern, when darkness should
overtake us in the waters, would help to guide us on board by its
distinct rays.
    Soon forms of objects outlined in the distance were discernible. I
recognized magnificent rocks, hung with a tapestry of zoophytes of the
most beautiful kind, and I was at first struck by the peculiar
effect of this medium.
    It was then ten in the morning; the rays of the sun struck the
surface of the waves at rather an oblique angle, and at the touch of
their light, decomposed by refraction as through a prism, flowers,
rocks, plants, shells, and polypi were shaded at the edges by the
seven solar colors. It was marvelous, a feast for the eyes, this
complication of colored tints, a perfect kaleidoscope of green,
yellow, orange, violet, indigo, and blue; in one word, the whole
palette of an enthusiastic colorist! Why could I not communicate to
Conseil the lively sensations which were mounting to my brain, and
rival him in expressions of admiration? For aught I knew, Captain Nemo
and his companion might be able to exchange thoughts by means of signs
previously agreed upon. So, for want of better, I talked to myself;
I declaimed in the copper box which covered my head, thereby expending
more air in vain words than was perhaps expedient.
    Various kinds of isis, clusters of pure tuft coral, prickly fungi,
and anemones, formed a brilliant garden of flowers, enameled with
porphitae, decked with their collarettes of blue tentacles, sea
stars studding the sandy bottom, together with asterophytons like fine
lace embroidered by the hands of naiads, whose festoons were waved
by the gentle undulations caused by our walk. It was a real grief to
me to crush under my feet the brilliant specimens of mollusks which
strewed the ground by thousands, of hammerheads, donaciae (veritable
bounding shells), of staircases, and red helmet shells, angel wings,
and many others produced by this inexhaustible ocean. But we were
bound to walk, so we went on, while above our heads waved shoals of
physalides leaving their tentacles to float in their train, medusae
whose umbrellas of opal or rose pink, escalloped with a band of
blue, sheltered us from the rays of the sun and fiery pelagiae,
which, in the darkness, would have strewn our path with phosphorescent
    All these wonders I saw in the space of a quarter of a mile,
scarcely stopping, and following Captain Nemo, who beckoned me on by
signs. Soon the nature of the soil changed; to the sandy plain
succeeded an extent of slimy mud, which the Americans call ooze,
composed of equal parts of siliceous and calcareous shells. We then
traveled over a plain of seaweed of wild and luxuriant vegetation.
This sward was of close texture, and soft to the feet, and rivaled the
softest carpet woven by the hand of man. But while verdure was
spread at our feet, it did not abandon our heads. A light network of
marine plants, of that inexhaustible family of seaweeds of which
more than two thousand kinds are known, grew on the surface of the
water. I saw long ribbons of fucus floating, some globular, others
tuberous; laurenciae and cladostephi of most delicate foliage, and
some rhodymeniae palmatae, resembling the fan of a cactus. I noticed
that the green plants kept nearer the top of the sea, while the red
were at a greater depth, leaving to the black or brown hydrophytes the
care of forming gardens and parterres in the remote beds of the ocean.
    We had quitted the Nautilus about an hour and a half. It was
near noon; I knew by the perpendicularity of the sun's rays, which
were no longer refracted. The magical colors disappeared by degrees,
and the shades of emerald and sapphire were effaced. We walked with
a regular step, which rang upon the ground with astonishing intensity;
the slightest noise was transmitted with a quickness to which the
ear is unaccustomed on the earth; indeed, water is a better
conductor of sound than air, in the ratio of four to one. At this
period the earth sloped downward; the light took a uniform tint. We
were at a depth of a hundred five yards and twenty inches,
undergoing a pressure of six atmospheres.
    At this depth I could still see the rays of the sun, though
feebly; to their intense brilliancy had succeeded a reddish
twilight, the lowest state between day and night; but we could still
see well enough; it was not necessary to resort to the Ruhmkorff
apparatus as yet. At this moment Captain Nemo stopped; he waited
till I joined him, and then pointed to an obscure mass, looming in the
shadow, at a short distance.
    "It is the forest of the Island of Crespo," thought I- and I was
not mistaken.
                          CHAPTER XVI.

                       A SUBMARINE FOREST.

    WE HAD at last arrived on the borders of this forest, doubtless
one of the finest of Captain Nemo's immense domains. He looked upon it
as his own, and considered he had the same right over it that the
first men had in the first days of the world. And, indeed, who would
have disputed with him the possession of this submarine property? What
other hardier pioneer would come, hatchet in hand, to cut down the
dark copses?
    This forest was composed of large tree plants; and, the moment
we penetrated under its vast arcades, I was struck by the singular
position of their branches- a position I had not yet observed.
    Not an herb which carpeted the ground, not a branch which
clothed the trees, was either broken or bent, nor did they extend
horizontally; all stretched up to the surface of the ocean. Not a
filament, not a ribbon, however thin they might be, but kept as
straight as a rod of iron. The fuci and llianas grew in rigid
perpendicular lines, due to the density of the element which had
produced them. Motionless, yet, when bent to one side by the hand,
they directly resumed their former position. Truly it was the region
of perpendicularity!
    I soon accustomed myself to this fantastic position, as well as to
the comparative darkness which surrounded us. The soil of the forest
seemed covered with sharp blocks, difficult to avoid. The submarine
flora struck me as being very perfect, and richer even than it would
have been in the arctic or tropical zones, where these productions are
not so plentiful. But for some minutes I involuntarily confounded
the genera, taking zoophytes for hydrophtyes, animals for plants;
and who would not have been mistaken? The fauna and the flora are
too closely allied in this submarine world.
    These plants are self-propagated, and the principle of their
existence is in the water, which upholds and nourishes them. The
greater number, instead of leaves, shoot forth blades of capricious
shapes, comprised within a scale of colors- pink, carmine, green,
olive, fawn, and brown. I saw there (but not dried up, as our
specimens of the Nautilus are) pavonari spread like a fan, as if to
catch the breeze; scarlet ceramies, whose laminaries extended their
edible shoots of fern-shaped nereocysti, which grow to a height of
fifteen feet; clusters of acetabuli, whose stems increase in size
upward; and numbers of other marine plants, all devoid of flowers!
    "Curious anomaly, fantastic element!" said an ingenious
naturalist, "in which the animal kingdom blossoms, and the vegetable
does not!"
    Under these numerous shrubs (as large trees of the temperate
zone), and under their damp shadow, were massed together real bushes
of living flowers, hedges of zoophytes, on which blossomed some
zebrameandrines, with crooked grooves, some yellow caryophylliae; and,
to complete the illusion, the fish flies flew from branch to branch
like a swarm of humming birds, while yellow lepisacomthi, with
bristling jaws, dactylopteri, and monocentrides rose at our feet
like a flight of snipes.
    In about an hour Captain Nemo gave the signal to halt. I, for my
part, was not sorry, and we stretched ourselves under an arbor of
alariae, the long, thin blades of which stood up like arrows.
    This short rest seemed delicious to me; there was nothing
wanting but the charm of conversation; but, impossible to speak,
impossible to answer, I only put my great copper head to Conseil's.
I saw the worthy fellow's eyes glistening with delight, and, to show
his satisfaction, he shook himself in his breastplate of air, in the
most comical way in the world.
    After four hours of this walking, I was surprised not to find
myself dreadfully hungry. How to account for this state of the stomach
I could not tell. But, instead, I felt an insurmountable desire to
sleep, which happens to all divers. And my eyes soon closed behind the
thick glasses, and I fell into a heavy slumber, which the movement
alone had prevented before. Captain Nemo and his robust companion,
stretched in the clear crystal, set us the example.
    How long I remained buried in this drowsiness, I cannot judge; but
when I woke, the sun seemed sinking toward the horizon. Captain Nemo
had already risen, and I was beginning to stretch my limbs, when an
unexpected apparition brought me briskly to my feet.
    A few steps off, a monstrous sea spider, about thirty-eight inches
high, was watching me with squinting eyes, ready to spring upon me.
Though my diver's dress was thick enough to defend me from the bite of
this animal, I could not help shuddering with horror. Conseil and
the sailor of the Nautilus awoke at this moment. Captain Nemo
pointed out the hideous crustacean, which a blow from the butt end
of the gun knocked over, and I saw the horrible claws of the monster
writhe in terrible convulsions. This accident reminded me that other
animals more to be feared might haunt these obscure depths, against
whose attacks my diving dress would not protect me. I had never
thought of it before, but I now resolved to be upon my guard.
Indeed, I thought that this halt would mark the termination of our
walk; but I was mistaken, for, instead of returning to the Nautilus,
Captain Nemo continued his bold excursion. The ground was still on the
incline, its declivity seemed to be getting greater, and to be leading
us to greater depths. It must have been about three o'clock when we
reached a narrow valley, between high perpendicular walls, situated
about seventy-five fathoms deep. Thanks to the perfection of our
apparatus, we were forty-five fathoms below the limit which nature
seems to have imposed on man as to his submarine excursions.
    I say seventy-five fathoms, though I had no instrument by which to
judge the distance. But I knew that even in the clearest waters the
solar rays could not penetrate farther. And accordingly the darkness
deepened. At ten paces not an object was visible. I was groping my
way, when I suddenly saw a brilliant white light. Captain Nemo had
just put his electric apparatus into use; his companion did the
same, and Conseil and I followed their example. By turning a screw,
I established a communication between the wire and the spiral glass,
and the sea, lit by our four lanterns, was illuminated for a circle of
thirty-six yards.
    Captain Nemo was still plunging into the dark depths of the
forest, whose trees were getting scarcer at every step. I noticed that
vegetable life disappeared sooner than animal life. The medusae had
already abandoned the arid soil, from which great number of animals,
zoophytes, articulata, mollusks, and fishes, still obtained
    As we walked, I thought the light of our Ruhmkorff apparatus could
not fail to draw some inhabitant from its dark couch. But if they
did approach us, they at least kept at a respectful distance from
the hunters. Several times I saw Captain Nemo stop, put his gun to his
shoulder, and after some moments drop it and walk on. At last, after
about four hours, this marvelous excursion came to an end. A wall of
superb rocks, in an imposing mass, rose before us, a heap of
gigantic blocks, an enormous, steep, granite short, forming dark
grottoes, but which presented no practicable slope; it was the prop of
the Island of Crespo. It was the earth! Captain Nemo stopped suddenly.
A gesture of his brought us all to a halt; and however desirous I
might be to scale the wall, I was obliged to stop. Here ended
Captain Nemo's domains. And he would not go beyond them. Farther on
was a portion of the globe he might not trample upon.
    The return began. Captain Nemo had returned to the head of his
little band, directing their course without hesitation. I thought we
were not following the same road to return to the Nautilus. The new
road was very steep, and consequently very painful. We approached
the surface of the sea rapidly. But this return to the upper strata
was not so sudden as to cause relief from the pressure too rapidly,
which might have produced serious disorder in our organization, and
brought on internal lesions, so fatal to divers. Very soon light
reappeared and grew, and the sun being low on the horizon, the
refraction edged the different objects with a spectral ring. At ten
yards and a half deep, we walked amidst a shoal of little fishes of
all kinds, more numerous than the birds of the air, and also more
agile; but no aquatic game worthy of a shot had as yet met our gaze,
when at that moment I saw the captain shoulder his gun quickly, and
follow a moving object into the shrubs. He fired- I heard a slight
hissing, and a creature fell stunned at some distance from us. It
was a magnificent sea otter, an enhydrus, the only exclusively
marine quadruped. This otter was five feet long, and must have been
very valuable. Its skin, chestnut-brown above, and silvery underneath,
would have made one of those beautiful furs so sought after in the
Russian and Chinese markets; the fineness and the luster of its coat
would certainly fetch four hundred dollars. I admired this curious
mammal, with its rounded head ornamented with short ears, its round
eyes, and white whiskers like those of a cat, with webbed feet and
nails, and tufted tail. This precious animal, hunted and tracked by
fishermen, has now become very rare, and taken refuge chiefly in the
northern parts of the Pacific, or probably its race would soon
become extinct.
    Captain Nemo's companion took the beast, threw it over his
shoulder, and we continued our journey. For one hour a plain of sand
lay stretched before us. Sometimes it rose to within two yards and
some inches of the surface of the water. I then saw our image
clearly reflected, drawn inversely, and above us appeared an identical
group reflecting our movements and our actions; in a word, like us
in every point, except that they walked with their heads downward
and their feet in the air.
    Another effect I noticed, which was the passage of thick clouds
which formed and vanished rapidly; but on reflection I understood that
these seeming clouds were due to the varying thickness of the reeds at
the bottom, and I could even see the fleecy foam which their broken
tops multiplied on the water, and the shadows of large birds passing
above our heads, whose rapid flight I could discern on the surface
of the sea.
    On this occasion, I was witness to one of the finest gunshots
which ever made the nerves of a hunter thrill. A large bird of great
breadth of wing, clearly visible, approached hovering over us. Captain
Nemo's companion shouldered his gun and fired, when it was only a
few yards above the waves. The creature fell stunned, and the force of
its fall brought it within the reach of the dexterous hunter's
grasp. It was an albatross of the finest kind.
    Our march had not been interrupted by this incident. For two hours
we followed these sandy plains, then fields of algae very disagreeable
to cross. Candidly, I could do no more when I saw a glimmer of
light, which, for a half mile, broke the darkness of the waters. It
was the lantern of the Nautilus. Before twenty minutes were over, we
should be on board, and I should be able to breathe with ease, for
it seemed that my reservoir supplied air very deficient in oxygen. But
I did not reckon on an accidental meeting, which delayed our arrival
for some time.
    I had remained some steps behind, when I presently saw Captain
Nemo coming hurriedly toward me. With his strong hand he bent me to
the ground, his companion doing the same to Conseil. At first I knew
not what to think of this sudden attack, but I was soon reassured by
seeing the captain lie down beside me, and remain immovable.
    I was stretched on the ground, just under shelter of a bush of
algae, when, raising my head, I saw some enormous mass, casting
phosphorescent gleams, pass blusteringly by.
    My blood froze in my veins as I recognized two formidable sharks
which threatened us. It was a couple of tintoreas, terrible creatures,
with enormous tails and a dull glassy stare, the phosphorescent matter
ejected from holes pierced around the muzzle. Monstrous brutes!
which would crush a whole man in their iron jaws. I did not know
whether Conseil stopped to classify them; for my part, I noticed their
silver bellies, and their huge mouths bristling with teeth, from a
very unscientific point of view, and more as a possible victim than as
a naturalist.
    Happily the voracious creatures do not see well. They passed
without seeing us, brushing us with their brownish fins, and we
escaped by a miracle from a danger certainly greater than meeting a
tiger full face in the forest. Half an hour after, guided by the
electric light, we reached the Nautilus. The outside door had been
left open, and Captain Nemo closed it as soon as we had entered the
first cell. He then pressed a knob. I heard the pumps working in the
midst of the vessel; I felt the water sinking from around me, and in a
few moments the cell was entirely empty. The inside door then
opened, and we entered the vestry.
    There our diving dress was taken off, not without some trouble;
and, fairly worn out from want of food and sleep, I returned to my
room, in great wonder at this surprising excursion at the bottom of
the sea.
                          CHAPTER XVII.


    THE next morning, November 18, I had quite recovered from my
fatigues of the day before, and I went up on the platform, just as the
second lieutenant was uttering his daily phrase.
    I was admiring the magnificent aspect of the ocean when Captain
Nemo appeared. He did not seem to be aware of my presence, and began a
series of astronomical observations. Then, when he had finished, he
went and leaned on the cage of the watch light, and gazed abstractedly
on the ocean. In the meantime, a number of the sailors of the
Nautilus, all strong and healthy men, had come up on to the
platform. They came to draw up the nets that had been laid all
night. These sailors were evidently of different nations, although the
European type was visible in all of them. I recognized some
unmistakable Irishmen, Frenchmen, some Slavs, and a Greek or a
Candiot. They were civil, and only used that odd language among
themselves, the origin of which I could not guess, neither could I
question them.
    The nets were hauled in. They were a large kind of "chaluts," like
those on the Normandy coasts, great pockets that the waves and a chain
fixed in the smaller meshes, kept open. These pockets, drawn by iron
poles, swept through the water, and gathered in everything in their
way. That day they brought up curious specimens from those
productive coasts- fishing frogs that, from their comical movements,
have acquired the name of buffoons; black commersons, furnished with
antennae; trigger fish, encircled with red bands; orthragorisci,
with very subtle venom; some olive-colored lampreys; macrorhynci,
covered with silvery scales; trichiuri, the electric power of which is
equal to that of the gymnotus and cramp fish: scaly notopteri, with
transverse brown bands; greenish cod; several varieties of gobies,
etc.; also some larger fish; a caranx with a prominent head a yard
long; several fine bonitos, streaked with blue and silver; and three
splendid tunnies, which, in spite of the swiftness of their motion,
had not escaped the net.
    I reckoned that the haul had brought in more than nine
hundredweight of fish. It was a fine haul, but not to be wondered
at. Indeed, the nets are let down for several hours, and inclose in
their meshes an infinite variety. We had no lack of excellent food,
and the rapidity of the Nautilus and the attraction of the electric
light could always renew our supply. These several productions of
the sea were immediately lowered through the panel to the steward's
room, some to be eaten fresh, and others pickled.
    The fishing ended, the provision air renewed, I thought that the
Nautilus was about to continue its submarine excursion, and was
preparing to return to my room, when, without further preamble, the
captain turned to me, saying:
    "Professor, is not this ocean gifted with real life? It has its
tempers and its gentle moods. Yesterday it slept as we did, and now it
has waked after a quiet night. Look!" he continued, "it wakes under
the caresses of the sun. It is going to renew its diurnal existence.
It is an interesting study to watch the play of its organization. It
has a pulse, arteries, spasms; and I agree with the learned Maury, who
discovered in it a circulation as real as the circulation of blood
in animals.
    "Yes, the ocean has indeed circulation, and to promote it, the
Creator has caused things to multiply in it- caloric salt and
    When Captain Nemo spoke thus, he seemed altogether changed, and.
aroused an extraordinary emotion in me.
    "Also," he added, "true existence is there; and I can imagine
the foundations of nautical towns, clusters of submarine houses,
which, like the Nautilus, would ascend every morning to breathe at the
surface of the water, free towns, independent cities. Yet who knows
whether some despot"-
     Captain Nemo finished his sentence with a violent gesture.
Then, addressing me as if to chase away some sorrowful thought-
    "M. Aronnax," he asked, "do you know the depth of the ocean?"
    "I only know, Captain, what the principal soundings have taught
    "Could you tell me them, so that I can suit them to my purpose?"
    "There are some," I replied, "that I remember. If I am not
mistaken, a depth of 8,000 yards has been found in the North Atlantic,
and 2,500 yards in the Mediterranean. The most remarkable soundings
have been made in the South Atlantic, near the 35th parallel, and they
gave 12,000 yards, 14,000 yards, and 15,000 yards. To sum up all, it
is reckoned that if the bottom of the sea were leveled, its mean depth
would be about one and three quarter leagues."
    "Well, Professor," replied the captain, "we shall show you
better than that I hope. As to the mean depth of this part of the
Pacific, I tell you it is only 4,000 yards."
    Having said this, Captain Nemo went toward the panel and
disappeared down the ladder. I followed him and went into the large
drawing room. The screw was immediately put in motion, and the log
gave twenty miles an hour.
    During the days and weeks that passed, Captain Nemo was very
sparing in his visits. I seldom saw him. The lieutenant pricked the
ship's course regularly on the chart, so I could always tell exactly
the route of the Nautilus.
    Nearly every day, for some time, the panels of the drawing room
were opened, and we were never tired of penetrating the mysteries of
the submarine world.
    The general direction of the Nautilus was southeast, and it kept
between 100 and 150 yards of depth. One day, however, I do not know
why, being drawn diagonally by means of the inclined planes, it
touched the bed of the sea. The thermometer indicated a temperature of
4.25 (cent.); a temperature that at this depth seemed common to all
    At three o'clock in the morning of November 26, the Nautilus
crossed the tropic of Cancer at 172 degrees longitude. On the
twenty-seventh instant it sighted the Sandwich Islands, where Cook
died, February 14, 1779. We had then gone 4,860 leagues from our
starting point. In the morning, when I went on the platform, I saw,
two miles to windward, Hawaii, the largest of the seven islands that
form the group. I saw clearly the cultivated ranges, and the several
mountain chains that run parallel with the side, and the volcanoes
that overtop Mauna Kea, which rise 5,000 yards above the level of
the sea. Besides other things the nets brought up, were several
flabellariae and graceful polypi, that are peculiar to that part of
the ocean. The direction of the Nautilus was still to the southeast.
It crossed the equator December 1, in 142 degrees longitude; and on
the fourth, after crossing rapidly and without anything particular
occurring, we sighted the Marquesas group. I saw, three miles off,
at 8 degrees 57' latitude south, and 139 degrees 32' west longitude,
Martin's peak in Nouka Hiva, the largest of the group that belongs
to France. I only saw the woody mountains against the horizon, because
Captain Nemo did not wish to bring the ship to the wind. There the
nets brought up beautiful specimens of fish: choryphenes, with azure
fins and tails like gold, the flesh of which is unrivaled;
hologymnoses, nearly destitute of scales, but of exquisite flavor;
yellow-tinged thasards, as good as bonitos; all fish that would be of
use to us. After leaving these charming islands protected by the
French flag, from December 4 to December 11, the Nautilus sailed
over about 2,000 miles. This navigation was remarkable for the meeting
with an immense shoal of calmars, near neighbors to the cuttle. The
French fishermen call them hornets: they belong to the cephalopod
class, and to the dibranchial family, that comprehends the cuttles and
the argonauts. These animals were particularly studied by students
of antiquity, and they furnished numerous metaphors to the popular
orators, as well as excellent dishes for the tables of the rich
citizens, if one can believe Athenaeus, a Greek doctor, who lived
before Galen. It was during the night of December 9 or 10 that the
Nautilus came across this shoal of mollusks, that are, peculiarly
nocturnal. One could count them by millions. They emigrate from the
temperate to the warmer zones, following the track of herrings and
sardines. We watched them through the thick crystal panes, swimming
down the wind with great rapidity, moving by means of their locomotive
tube, pursuing fish and mollusks, eating the little ones, eaten by the
big ones, and tossing about in indescribable confusion the ten arms
that nature has placed on their heads like a crest of pneumatic
serpents. The Nautilus, in spite of its speed, sailed for several
hours in the midst of these animals, and its nets brought in an
enormous quantity, among which I recognized the nine species that
D'Orbigny classed for the Pacific. One saw, while crossing, that the
sea displays the most wonderful sights. They were in endless
variety. The scene changed continually, and we were called upon not
only to contemplate the works of the Creator in the midst of the
liquid element, but to penetrate the awful mysteries of the ocean.
    During the daytime of December 11, I was busy reading in the large
drawing room. Ned Land and Conseil watched the luminous water
through the half-open panels. The Nautilus was immovable. While its
reservoirs were filled, it kept at a depth of 1,000 yards, a region
rarely visited in the ocean, and in which large fish were seldom seen.
    I was then reading a charming book by Jean Mace, The Slaves of the
Stomach, and I was learning some valuable lessons from it, when
Conseil interrupted me.
    "Will master come here a moment?" he said, in a curious voice.
    "What is the matter, Conseil?"
    "I want master to look."
    I rose, went and leaned on my elbows before the panes and watched.
    In a full electric light, an enormous black mass, quite immovable,
was suspended in the midst of the waters. I watched it attentively,
seeking to find out the nature of this gigantic cetacean. But a sudden
thought crossed my mind. "A vessel!" I said, half aloud.
    "Yes," replied the Canadian, "a disabled ship that has sunk
    Ned Land was right; we were close to a vessel of which the
tattered shrouds still hung from their chains. The keel seemed to be
in good order, and it had been wrecked at most some few hours. Three
stumps of masts, broken off about two feet above the bridge, showed
that the vessel had had to sacrifice its masts. But, lying on its
side, it had filled, and it was heeling over to port. This skeleton of
what it had once been, was a sad spectacle as it lay lost under the
waves, but sadder still was the sight of the bridge, where some
corpses, bound with ropes, were still lying. I counted five: four men,
one of whom was standing at the helm, and a woman standing by the
poop, holding an infant in her arms. She was quite young. I could
distinguish her features, which the water had not decomposed, by the
brilliant light from the Nautilus. In one despairing effort, she had
raised her infant above her head, poor little thing! whose arms
encircled its mother's neck. The attitude of the four sailors was
frightful, distorted as they were by their convulsive movements, while
making a last effort to free themselves from the cords that bound them
to the vessel. The steersman alone, calm, with a grave, clear face,
his gray hair glued to his forehead, and his hand clutching the
wheel of the helm, seemed even then to be guiding the three broken
masts through the depths of the ocean.
    What a scene! We were dumb; our hearts beat fast before this
shipwreck, taken as it were from life, and photographed in its last
moments. And I saw already, coming toward it with hungry eyes,
enormous sharks, attracted by the human flesh.
    However the Nautilus, turning, went round the submerged vessel,
and in one instant I read on the stern: "The Florida, Sunderland."
                         CHAPTER XVIII.


    THIS terrible spectacle was the forerunner of the series of
maritime catastrophes that the Nautilus was destined to meet with in
its route. As long as it went through more frequented waters, we often
saw the hulls of shipwrecked vessels that were rotting in the
depths, and deeper down, cannon, bullets, anchors, chains, and a
thousand other iron materials eaten up by rust. However, on December
11, we sighted the Pomotou Islands, the old "dangerous group" of
Bougainville, that extend over a space of 500 leagues at E.S.E. to
W.N.W., from the Island Ducie to that of Lazareff. This group covers
an area of 370 square leagues, and it is formed of sixty groups of
islands, among which the Gambier group is remarkable, over which
France exercises sway. These are coral islands, slowly raised, but
continuous, created by the daily work of polypi. Then this new
island will be joined later on to the neighboring groups, and a
fifth continent will stretch from New Zealand and New Caledonia, and
from thence to the Marquesas.
    One day, when I was suggesting this theory to Captain Nemo, he
replied coldly:
    "The earth does not want new continents, but new men."
    Chance had conducted the Nautilus toward the island of
Clermont-Tonnere, one of the most curious of the group, that was
discovered in 1822 by Captain Bell of the Minerva. I could study now
the madreporal system, to which are due the islands in this ocean.
    Madrepores (which must not be mistaken for corals) have a tissue
lined with a calcareous crust, and the modifications of its
structure have induced M. Milne Edwards, my worthy master, to class
them into five sections. The animalculae that the marine polypus
secretes live by millions at the bottom of their cells. Their
calcareous deposits become rocks, reefs, and large and small
islands. Here they form a ring, surrounding a little inland lake, that
communicates with the sea by means of gaps. There they make barriers
of reefs like those on the coasts of New Caledonia and the various
Pomotou islands. In other places, like those at Reunion and at
Maurice, they raise fringed reefs, high, straight walls, near which
the depth of the ocean is considerable.
    Some cable lengths off the shores of the Island of Clermont, I
admired the gigantic work accomplished by these microscopical workers.
These walls are specially the work of those madrepores known as
milleporas, porites, madrepores, and astraeas. These polypi are
found particularly in the rough beds of the sea, near the surface; and
consequently it is from the upper part that they begin their
operations, in which they bury themselves by degrees with the debris
of the secretions that support them. Such is, at least, Darwin's
theory, who thus explains the formation of the atolls, a superior
theory, (to my mind) to that given of the foundation of the
madreporical works, summits of mountains or volcanoes, that are
submerged some feet below the level of the sea.
    I could observe closely these curious walls, for perpendicularly
they were more than 300 yards deep, and our electric sheets lighted up
this calcareous matter brilliantly. Replying to a question Conseil
asked me as to the time these colossal barriers took to be raised, I
astonished him much by telling him that learned men reckoned it
about the eighth of an inch in a hundred years.
    Toward evening Clermont-Tonnere was lost in the distance, and
the route of the Nautilus was sensibly changed. After having crossed
the tropic of Capricorn 135 degrees longitude, it sailed W.N.W.,
making again for the tropical zone. Although the summer sun was very
strong, we did not suffer from heat, for at fifteen or twenty
fathoms below the surface, the temperature did not rise above from ten
to twelve degrees.
    On December 15, we left to the east the bewitching group of the
Societies and the graceful Tahiti, queen of the Pacific. I saw in
the morning, some miles to the windward, the elevated summits of the
island. These waters furnished our table with excellent fish,
mackerel, bonitos, and albicores, and some varieties of a sea
serpent called munirophis.
    On December 25, the Nautilus sailed into the midst of the New
Hebrides, discovered by Quiros in 1606, and that Bougainville explored
in 1768, and to which Cook gave its present name in 1773. This group
is composed principally of nine large islands, that form a band of 120
leagues N.N.E. to S.S.W., between 15 degrees and 2 degrees south
latitude, and 164 degrees and 168 degrees longitude. We passed
tolerably near to the island of Aurou, that at noon looked like a mass
of green woods, surmounted by a peak of great height.
    That day being Christmas Day, Ned Land seemed to regret sorely the
non-celebration of "Christmas," the family fete of which Protestants
are so fond. I had not seen Captain Nemo for a week when, on the
morning of December 27, he came into the large drawing room, always
seeming as if he had seen you five minutes before. I was busily
tracing the route of the Nautilus on the planisphere. The captain came
up to me, put his finger on one spot on the chart and said this single
    The effect was magical it was the name of the islands on which
La Perouse had been lost! I rose suddenly.
    "The Nautilus has brought us to Vanikoro?" I asked.
    "Yes, Professor," said the captain.
    "And I can visit the celebrated islands where the Boussole and the
Astrolabe struck?"
    "If you like, Professor."
    "When shall we be there?"
    "We are there now."
    Followed by Captain Nemo, I went up on to the platform and
greedily scanned the horizon.
    To the N.E. two volcanic islands emerged of unequal size,
surrounded by a coral reef that measured forty miles in circumference.
We were close to Vanikoro, really the one to which Dumont d'Urville
gave, the name of Isle de la Recherche, and exactly facing the
little harbor of Vanou, situated in 16 degrees 4' south latitude,
and 164 degrees 32' east longitude. The earth seemed covered with
verdure from the shore to the summits in the interior, that were
crowned by Mount Kapogo, 476 feet high. The Nautilus, having passed
the outer belt of rocks by a narrow strait, found itself among
breakers where the sea was from thirty to forty fathoms deep. Under
the verdant shade of some mangroves, I perceived some savages, who
appeared greatly surprised at our approach. In the long black body,
moving between wind and water, did they not see some formidable
cetacean that they regarded with suspicion?
    Just then Captain Nemo asked me what I knew about the wreck of
La Perouse.
    "Only what everyone knows, Captain," I replied.
    "And could you tell me what everyone knows about it?" he inquired,
    I related to him all that the last works of Dumont d'Urville had
made known-works from which the following is a brief account.
    La Perouse, and his second, Captain de Langle, were sent by
Louis XVI, in 1785, on a voyage of circumnavigation. They embarked
in the corvettes the Boussole and the Astrolabe, neither of which were
again heard of. In 1791, the French Government, justly uneasy as to
the fate of these two sloops, manned two large merchantmen, the
Recherche and the Esperance, which left Brest September 28, under
the command of Bruni d'Entrecasteaux.
    Two months after, they learned from Bowen, commander of the
Albemarle, that the debris of shipwrecked vessels had been seen on the
coasts of New Georgia. But D'Entrecasteaux, ignoring this
communication- rather uncertain, besides- directed his course toward
the Admiralty Isles, mentioned in a report of Captain Hunter's as
being the place where La Perouse was wrecked.
    They sought in vain. The Esperance and the Recherche passed before
Vanikoro without stopping there, and, in fact, this voyage was most
disastrous, as it cost D'Entrecasteaux his life, and, those of two
of his lieutenants, besides several of his crew.
    Captain Dillon, a shrewd old Pacific sailor, was the first to find
unmistakable traces of the wrecks. On May 15, 1824, his vessel, the
St. Patrick, passed close to Tikopia, one of the New Hebrides. There a
Lascar came alongside in a canoe, sold him the handle of a sword in
silver, that bore the print of characters engraved on the hilt. The
Lascar pretended that six years before, during a stay at Vanikoro,
he had seen two Europeans that belonged to some vessels that had run
aground on the reefs some years ago.
    Dillon guessed that he meant La Perouse, whose disappearance had
troubled the whole world. He tried to get on to Vanikoro, where,
according to the Lascar, he would find numerous debris of the wreck,
but winds and tide prevented him.
    Dillon returned to Calcutta. There he interested the Asiatic
Society and the Indian Company in his discovery. A vessel, to which
was given the name of the Recherche, was put at his disposal, and he
set out, January 23, 1827, accompanied by a French agent.
    The Recherche, after touching at several points in the Pacific,
cast anchor before Vanikoro, July 7, 1827, in that same harbor of
Vanou where the Nautilus was at this time.
    There it collected numerous relics of the wreck- iron utensils,
anchors, pulley straps, swivel guns, an eighteen-pound shot, fragments
of astronomical instruments, a piece of crown work, and a bronze
clock, bearing this inscription- "Bazin m'a fait," the mark of the
foundry of the arsenal at Brest about 1785. There could be no
further doubt.
    Dillon, having made all inquiries, stayed in the unlucky place
till October. Then he quitted Vanikoro, and directed his course toward
New Zealand; put into Calcutta, April 7, 1828, and returned to France,
where he was warmly welcomed by Charles X.
    But at the same time, without knowing Dillon's movements, Dumont
d'Urville had already set out to find the scene of the wreck. And they
had learned from a whaler that some medals and a cross of St. Louis
had been found in the hands of some savages of Louisiade and New
Caledonia. Dumont d'Urville, commander of the Astrolabe, had then
sailed, and two months after Dillon had left Vanikoro, he put into
Hobart Town. There he learned the results of Dillon's inquiries, and
found that a certain James Hobbs, second lieutenant of the Union of
Calcutta, after landing on an island situated 8 degrees 18' south
latitude, and 156 degrees 30' east longitude, had seen' some iron
bars, and red stuffs used by the natives of these parts. Dumont
d'Urville, much perplexed, and not knowing how to credit the reports
of low-class journals, decided to follow Dillon's track.
    On February 10, 1828, the Astrolabe appeared off Tikopia, and took
as guide and interpreter a deserter found on the island; made his
way to Vanikoro, sighted it on the twelfth inst., lay among the
reefs until the fourteenth, and not until the twentieth did he cast
anchor within the barrier in the harbor of Vanou.
    On the twenty-third, several officers went round the island, and
brought back some unimportant trifles. The natives, adopting a
system of denials and evasions, refused to take them to the unlucky
place. This ambiguous conduct led them to believe that the natives had
ill-treated the castaways, and indeed they seemed to fear that
Dumont d'Urville had come to avenge La Perouse and his unfortunate
    However, on the twenty-sixth, appeased by some presents, and
understanding that they had no reprisals to fear, they led M.
Jacquireot to the scene of the wreck.
    There, in three or four fathoms of water, between the reefs of
Pacou and Vanou, lay anchors, cannons, pigs of lead and iron, embedded
in the limy concretions. The large boat and the whaler belonging to
the Astrolabe were sent to this place, and, not without some
difficulty, their crews hauled up an anchor weighing 1,800 pounds, a
brass gun, some pigs of iron, and two copper swivel guns.
    Dumont d'Urville questioning the natives, learned, to that La
Perouse, after losing both his vessels on the reefs of this island,
had constructed a smaller boat, only to be lost a second time. Where?-
no one knew.
    But the French Government, fearing that Dumont d'Urville was not
acquainted with Dillon's movements, had sent the sloop Bayonnaise,
commanded by Legoarant de Tromelin, to Vanikoro, which had been
stationed on the west coast of America. The Bayonnaise cast her anchor
before Vanikoro some months after the departure of the Astrolabe,
but found no new document; but stated that the savages had respected
the monument to La Perouse. That is the substance of what I told to
Captain Nemo.
    "So," he said, "no one knows now where the third vessel perished
that was constructed by the castaways on the island of Vanikoro?"
    "No one knows."
    Captain Nemo said nothing, but signed to me to follow him into the
large saloon. The Nautilus sank several yards below the waves, and the
panels were opened.
    I hastened to the aperture, and under the crustations of coral,
covered with fungi, alcyons madrepores, through myriads of charming
fish- girelles, glyphisidri, diacopes, and holocentres- I recognized
certain debris that the drags had not been able to tear up- iron
stirrups, anchors, cannons, bullets, capstan fittings, the stern of
a ship, all objects clearly proving the wreck of some vessel, and
now carpeted with living flowers. While I was looking on this desolate
scene, Captain Nemo said, in a sad voice:
    "Commander La Perouse set out December 7, 1785, with his vessels
La Bousolle and the Astrolabe. He first cast anchor at Botany Bay,
visited the Friendly Isles, New Caledonia, then directed his course
toward Santa Cruz, and put into Namouka, one of the Hapai group.
Then his vessels struck on the unknown reefs of Vanikoro. The
Bousolle, which went first, ran aground on the southerly coast. The
Astrolabe went to its help, and ran aground too. The first vessel
was destroyed almost immediately. The second, stranded under the wind,
resisted some days. The natives made the castaways welcome. They
installed themselves in the island, and constructed a smaller boat
with the debris of the two large ones. Some sailors stayed willingly
at Vanikoro; the others, weak and ill, set out with La Perouse. They
directed their course toward the Solomon Isles, and there perished,
with everything, on the westerly coast of the chief island of the
group, between Capes Deception and Satisfaction."
    "How do you know that?"
    "By this, that I found on the spot where was the last wreck."
    Captain Nemo showed me a tin-plate box, stamped with the French
arms, and corroded by the salt water. He opened it, and I saw a bundle
of papers, yellow, but still readable.
    They were the instructions of the naval minister to Commander La
Perouse, annotated in the margin in Louis XVI's handwriting.
    "Ah! it is a fine death for a sailor!" said Captain Nemo, at last.
"A coral tomb makes a quiet grave; and I trust that I and my
comrades will find no other."
                          CHAPTER XIX.

                         TORRES STRAITS.

    DURING the night of December 27 or 28, the Nautilus left the
shores of Vanikoro with great speed. Her course was southwesterly, and
in three days she had gone over the 750 leagues that separated it from
La Perouse's group and the southeast point of Papua.
    Early January 1, 1868, Conseil joined me on the platform.
    "Master, Master, will you permit me to wish you a happy new year?"
    "What! Conseil; exactly as if I were at Paris in my study at the
Jardin des Plantes? Well, I accept your good wishes, and thank you for
them. Only, I will ask you what you mean by a 'Happy new year,'
under our circumstances? Do you mean the year that will bring us to
the end of our imprisonment, or the year that sees us continue this
strange voyage?"
    "Really, I do not know how to answer, master. We are sure to see
curious things, and for the last two months we have not had time for
ennui. The last marvel is always the most astonishing; and if we
continue this progression, I do not know how it will end. It is my
opinion that we shall never again see the like. I think, then, with no
offense to master, that a happy year would be one in which we could
see everything."
    On January 2, we had made 11,340 miles, or 5,250 French leagues,
since our starting point in the Japan Seas. Before the ship's head
stretched the dangerous shores of the coral sea, on the northeast
coast of Australia. Our boat lay along some miles from the redoubtable
bank on which Cook's vessel was lost, June 10, 1770. The boat in which
Cook was struck on a rock, and if it did not sink, it was owing to a
piece of the coral that was broken by the shock, and fixed itself in
the broken keel.
    I had wished to visit the reef, 360 leagues long, against which
the sea, always rough, broke with great violence, with a noise like
thunder. But just then the inclined planes drew the Nautilus down to a
great depth, and I could see nothing of the high coral walls. I had to
content myself with the different specimens of fish brought up by
the nets. I remarked, among others, some germons, a species of
mackerel as large as a tunny, with bluish sides, and striped with
transverse bands, that disappear with the animal's life. These fish
followed us in shoals, and furnished us with very delicate food. We
took also a large number of giltheads, about one and a half inches
long, tasting like dorys; and flying pyrapeds like submarine swallows,
which, in dark nights, light alternately the air and water with
their phosphorescent light. Among the mollusks and zoophytes, I
found in the meshes of the net several species of alcyonatians,
echini, hammers, spurs, dials, cerites, and hyalleae. The flora was
represented by beautiful floating seaweeds, laminaria, and
macrocystes, impregnated with the mucilage that transudes through
their pores; and among which I gathered an admirable Nemastoma
Geliniarois, that was classed among the natural curiosities of the
    Two days after crossing the coral sea, January 4, we sighted the
Papuan coasts. On this occasion, Captain Nemo informed me that his
intention was to get into the Indian Ocean by the Strait of Torres.
His communication ended there.
    The Torres Straits are nearly thirty-four leagues wide; but they
are obstructed by an innumerable quantity of islands, islets,
breakers, and rocks, that make its navigation almost impracticable; so
that Captain Nemo took all needful precautions to cross them. The
Nautilus, floating betwixt wind and water, went at a moderate pace.
Her screw, like a cetacean's tail, beat the waves slowly.
    Profiting by this, I and my two companions went up on to the
deserted platform. Before us was the steersman's cage, and I
expected that Captain Nemo was there directing the course of the
Nautilus. I had before me the excellent charts of the Strait of Torres
made out by the hydrographical engineer Vincendon Dumoulin. These
and Captain King's are the best charts that clear the intricacies of
this strait, and I consulted them attentively. Round the Nautilus
the sea dashed furiously. The course of the waves, that went from
southeast to northwest at the rate of two and a half miles, broke on
the coral that showed itself here and there.
    "This is a bad sea!" remarked Ned Land.
    "Detestable indeed, and one that does not suit a boat like the
    "The captain must be very sure of his route, for I see there
pieces of coral that would do for its keel if it only touched them
    Indeed the situation was dangerous, but the Nautilus seemed to
slide like magic off these rocks. It did not follow the routes of
the Astrolabe and the Zelee exactly, for they proved fatal to Dumont
d'Urville. It bore more northwards, coasted the Island of Murray,
and came back to the southwest toward Cumberland Passage. I thought it
was going to pass it by, when, going back to northwest, it went
through a large quantity of islands and islets little known, toward
the Island Sound and Canal Mauvais.
    I wondered if Captain Nemo, foolishly imprudent, would steer his
vessel into that pass where Dumont d'Urville's two corvettes
touched; when, swerving again, and cutting straight through to the
west, he steered for the Island of Gilboa.
    It was then three in the afternoon. The tide began to recede,
being quite full. The Nautilus approached the island, that I still saw
with its remarkable border of screw pines. He stood off it at about
two miles distant. Suddenly a shock overthrew me. The Nautilus just
touched a rock, and stayed immovable, lying lightly to port side.
    When I rose, I perceived Captain Nemo and his lieutenant on the
platform. They were examining the situation of the vessel, and
exchanging words in their incomprehensible dialect.
    She was situated thus: Two miles, on the starboard side,
appeared Gilboa, stretching from north to west like an immense arm.
Toward the south and east some coral showed itself, left by the ebb.
We had run aground, and in one of those seas where the tides are
middling- a sorry matter for the floating of the Nautilus. However,
the vessel had not suffered, for her keel was solidly joined. But if
she could neither glide off nor move, she ran the risk of being
forever fastened to these rocks, and then Captain Nemo's submarine
vessel would be done for.
    I was reflecting thus, when the captain, cool and calm, always
master of himself, approached me.
    "An accident?" I asked.
    "No; an incident."
    "But an incident that will oblige you perhaps to become an
inhabitant of this land from which you flee?"
    Captain Nemo looked at me curiously, and made a negative
gesture, as much as to say that nothing would force him to set foot on
terra firma again. Then he said:
    "Besides, M. Aronnax, the Nautilus is not lost; it will carry
you yet into the midst of the marvels of the ocean. Our voyage is only
begun, and I do not wish to be deprived so soon of the honor of your
    "However, Captain Nemo," I replied, without noticing the
ironical turn of his phrase, "the Nautilus ran aground in open sea.
Now the tides are not strong in the Pacific; and if you cannot lighten
the Nautilus, I do not see how it will be reinflated."
    "The tides are not strong in the Pacific; you are right there,
Professor; but in Torres Straits, one finds still a difference of a
yard and a half between the level of high and low seas. Today is
January 4, and in five days the moon will be full. Now, I shall be
very much astonished if that complaisant satellite does not raise
these masses of water sufficiently, and render me a service that I
should be indebted to her for."
    Having said this, Captain Nemo, followed by his lieutenant,
redescended to the interior of the Nautilus. As to the vessel, it
moved not, and was immovable, as if the coralline polypi had already
walled it up with their indestructible cement.
    "Well, sir?" said Ned Land, who came up to me after the
departure of the captain.
    "Well, friend Ned, we will wait patiently for the tide on the
ninth instant; for it appears that the moon will have the goodness
to put it off again."
    "And this captain is not going to cast anchor at all, since the
tide will suffice?" said Conseil, simply.
    The Canadian looked at Conseil, then shrugged his shoulders.
    "Sir, you may believe me when I tell you that this piece of iron
will navigate neither on nor under the sea again; it is only fit to be
sold for its weight. I think, therefore, that the time has come to
part company with Captain Nemo."
    "Friend Ned, I do not despair of this stout Nautilus, as you do;
and in four day's we shall know what to hold to on the Pacific
tides. Besides, flight might be possible if we were in sight of the
English or Provencal coasts; but on the Papuan shores, it is another
thing; and it will be time enough to come to that extremity if the
Nautilus does not recover itself again, which I look upon as a grave
    "But do they know, at least, how to act circumspectly? There is an
island; on that island there are trees; under those trees, terrestrial
animals, bearers of cutlets and roast beef, to which I would willingly
give a trial."
    "In this, friend Ned is right," said Conseil, "and I agree with
him. Could not master obtain permission from his friend Captain Nemo
to put us on land, if only so as not to lose the habit of treading
on the solid parts of our planet?"
    "I can ask him, but he will refuse."
    "Will master risk it?" asked Conseil, "and we shall know how to
rely upon the captain's amiability."
    To my great surprise Captain Nemo gave me the permission I asked
for, and he gave it very agreeably, without even exacting from me a
promise to return to the vessel; but flight across New Guinea might be
very perilous, and I should not have counseled Ned Land to attempt it.
Better to be a prisoner on board the Nautilus, than to fall into the
hands of the natives.
    At eight o'clock, armed with guns and hatchets, we got off the
Nautilus. The sea was pretty calm; a slight breeze blew on land.
Conseil and I rowing, we sped along quickly, and Ned steered in the
straight passage that the breakers left between them. The boat was
well handled, and moved rapidly.
    Ned Land could not restrain his joy. He was like a prisoner that
had escaped from prison, and knew not that it was necessary to reenter
    "Meat! We are going to eat some meat; and what meat!" he
replied. "Real game! no, bread, indeed."
    "I do not say that fish is not good; we must not abuse it; but a
piece of fresh venison, grilled on live coals, will agreeably vary our
ordinary course."
    "Gourmand!" said Conseil, "he makes my mouth water."
    "It remains to be seen," I said, "if these forests are full of
game, and if the game is not such as will hunt the hunter himself."
    "Well said, M. Aronnax," replied the Canadian, whose teeth
seemed sharpened like the edge of a hatchet; "but I will eat tiger-
loin of tiger- if there is no other quadruped on this island."
    "Friend Ned is uneasy about it," said Conseil.
    "Whatever it may be," continued Ned Land, "every animal with
four paws without feathers, or with two paws without feathers, will be
saluted by my first shot."
    "Very well! Master Land's imprudences are beginning."
    "Never fear, M. Aronnax," replied the Canadian; "I do not want
twenty-five minutes to offer you a dish of my sort."
    At half after eight the Nautilus boat ran softly aground, on a
heavy sand, after having happily passed the coral reef that
surrounds the Island of Gilboa.
                           CHAPTER XX.

                       A FEW DAYS ON LAND.

    I WAS much impressed on touching land. Ned Land tried the soil
with his feet, as if to take possession of it. However it was only two
months before that we had become, according to Captain Nemo,
"passengers on board the Nautilus," but in reality, prisoners of its
    In a few minutes we were within musket shot of the coast. The soil
was almost entirely madreporical, but certain beds of dried-up
torrents, strewn with debris of granite, showed that this island was
of the primary formation. The whole horizon was hidden behind a
beautiful curtain of forests. Enormous trees, the trunks of which
attained a height of 200 feet, were tied to each other by garlands
of bindweed, real natural hammocks, which a light breeze rocked.
They were mimosas, ficuses, casuarinae, teks, hibisci, and palm trees,
mingled together in profusion; and under the shelter of their
verdant vault grew orchids, leguminous plants, and ferns.
    But without noticing all these beautiful specimens of Papuan
flora, the Canadian abandoned the agreeable for the useful. He
discovered a coconut tree, beat down some of the fruit, broke them,
and we drank the milk and ate the nut, with a satisfaction that
protested against the ordinary food on the Nautilus.
    "Excellent!" said Ned Land.
    "Exquisite!" replied Conseil.
    "And I do not think," said the Canadian, "that he would object
to our introducing a cargo of coconuts on board."
    "I do not think he would, but he would not taste them."
    "So much the worse for him," said Conseil.
    "And so much the better for us," replied Ned Land. "There will
be more for us."
    "One word only, Master Land," I said to the harpooner, who was
beginning to ravage another coconut tree. "Coconuts are good things,
but before filling the canoe with them it would be wise to reconnoiter
and see if the island does not produce some substance not less useful.
Fresh vegetables would be welcome on board the Nautilus."
    "Master is right," replied Conseil; "and I propose to reserve
three places in our vessel, one for fruits, the other for
vegetables, and the third for the venison, of which I have not yet
seen the smallest specimen."
    "Conseil, we must not despair," said the Canadian.
    "Let us continue," I returned, "and lie in wait. Although the
island seems uninhabited, it might still contain some individuals that
would be less hard than we on the nature of game."
    "Ho! ho!" said Ned Land, moving his jaws significantly.
    "Well, Ned!" cried Conseil.
    "My word!" returned the Canadian, "I begin to understand the
charms of anthropophagy."
    "Ned! Ned! what are you saying? You, a man-eater? I should not
feel safe with you, especially as I share your cabin. I might
perhaps wake one day to find myself half devoured."
    "Friend Conseil, I like you much, but not enough to eat you
    "I would not trust you," replied Conseil. "But enough. We must
absolutely bring down some game to satisfy this cannibal, or else
one of these fine mornings, master will find only pieces of his
servant to serve him."
    While we were talking thus, we were penetrating the somber
arches of the forest, and for two hours we surveyed it in all
    Chance rewarded our search for edible vegetables, and one of the
most useful products of the tropical zones furnished us with
precious food that we missed on board. I would speak of the breadfruit
tree, very abundant in the island of Gilboa; and I remarked chiefly
the variety destitute of seeds, which bears in Malaya the name of
    Ned Land knew these fruits well. He had already eaten many
during his numerous voyages, and he knew how to prepare the edible
substance. Moreover, the sight of them excited him, and he could
contain himself no longer.
    "Master," he said, "I shall die if I do not taste a little of this
breadfruit pie."
    "Taste it, friend Ned- taste it as you want. We are here to make
experiments- make them."
    "It won't take long," said the Canadian.
    And provided with a lentil, he lighted a fire of dead wood, that
crackled joyously. During this time, Conseil and I chose the best
fruits of the artocarpus. Some had not then attained a sufficient
degree of maturity; and their thick skin covered a white but rather
fibrous pulp. Others, the greater number yellow and gelatinous, waited
only to be picked.
    These fruits inclosed no kernel. Conseil brought a dozen to Ned
Land, who placed them on a coal fire, after having cut them in thick
slices, and while doing this repeating:
    "You will see, master, how good this bread is. More so when one
has been deprived of it so long. It is not even bread," added he, "but
a delicate pastry. You have eaten none, master?"
    "No, Ned."
    "Very well, prepare yourself for a juicy thing. If you do not come
for more, I am no longer the king of harpooners."
    After some minutes, the part of the fruits that was exposed to the
fire was completely roasted. The interior looked like a white
pastry, a sort of soft crumb, the flavor of which was like that of
an artichoke.
    It must be confessed this bread was excellent, and I ate of it
with great relish.
    "What time is it now?" asked the Canadian.
    "Two o'clock at least," replied Conseil.
    "How time flies on firm ground!" sighed Ned Land.
    "Let us be off," replied Conseil.
    We returned through the forest, and completed our collection by
a raid upon the cabbage palms, that we gathered from the tops of the
trees, little beans that I recognized as the "abrou" of the Malays,
and yams of a superior quality.
    We were loaded when we reached the boat. But Ned Land did not find
his provision sufficient. Fate, however, favored us. Just as we were
pushing off, he perceived several trees, from twenty-five to thirty
feet high, a species of palm tree. These trees, as valuable as the
artocarpus, justly are reckoned among the most useful products of
    At last, at five o'clock in the evening, loaded with our riches,
we quitted the shore, and half an hour after we hailed the Nautilus.
No one appeared on our arrival. The enormous iron-plated cylinder
seemed deserted. The provisions embarked, I descended to my chamber,
and after supper slept soundly.
    The next day, January 6, nothing new on board. Not a sound inside,
not a sign of life. The boat rested along the edge, in the same
place in which we had left it. We resolved to return to the island.
Ned Land hoped to be more fortunate than on the day before with regard
to the hunt, and wished to visit another part of the forest.
    At dawn we set off. The boat, carried on by the waves that
flowed to shore, reached the island in a few minutes.
    We landed, and thinking that it was better to give in to the
Canadian, we followed Ned Land, whose long limbs threatened to
distance us. He wound up the coast toward the west: then fording
some torrents, he gained the high plain that was bordered with
admirable forests. Some kingfishers were rambling along the
watercourses, but they would not let themselves be approached. Their
circumspection proved to me that these birds knew what to expect
from bipeds of our species, and I concluded that, if the island was
not inhabited, at least human beings occasionally frequented it.
    After crossing a rather large prairie, we arrived at the skirts of
a little wood that was enlivened by the songs and flight of a large
number of birds.
    "There are only birds," said Conseil.
    "But they are edible," replied the harpooner.
    "I do not agree with you, friend Ned, for I see only parrots
    "Friend Conseil," said Ned, gravely, "the parrot is like
pheasant to those who have nothing else."
    "And," I added, "this bird, suitably prepared, is worth knife
and fork."
    Indeed, under the thick foliage of this wood, a world of parrots
were flying from branch to branch, only needing a careful education to
speak the human language. For the moment, they were chattering with
parrots of all colors, and grave cockatoos, who seemed to meditate
upon some, philosophical problem, whilst brilliant red lories passed
like a piece of bunting carried away by the breeze; papuans, with
the finest azure colors, and in all a variety of winged things most
charming to behold, but few edible.
    However, a bird peculiar to these lands, and which has never
passed the limits of the Arrow and Papuan islands, was wanting in this
collection. But fortune reserved it for me before long.
    After passing through a moderately thick copse, we found a plain
obstructed with bushes. I saw then those magnificent birds, the
disposition of whose long feathers obliged them to fly against the
wind. Their undulating flight, graceful aerial curves, and the shading
of their colors, attracted and charmed one's looks. I had no trouble
in recognizing them.
    "Birds of paradise!" I exclaimed.
    The Malays, who carry on a great trade in these birds with the
Chinese, have several means that we could not employ for taking
them. Sometimes they put snares at the top of high trees that the
birds of paradise prefer to frequent. Sometimes they catch them with a
viscous birdlime that paralyses their movements. They even go so far
as to poison the fountains that the birds generally drink from. But we
were obliged to fire at them during flight, which gave us few
chances to bring them down; and indeed, we vainly exhausted one half
of our ammunition.
    About eleven o'clock in the morning, the first range of
mountains that form the center of the island was traversed, and we had
killed nothing. Hunger drove us on. The hunters had relied on the
products of the chase, and they were wrong. Happily, Conseil, to his
great surprise, made a double shot and secured breakfast. He brought
down a white pigeon and a wood pigeon, which, cleverly plucked and
suspended from a skewer, were roasted before a red fire of dead
wood. While these interesting birds were cooking, Ned prepared the
fruit of the artocarpus. Then the wood pigeons were devoured to the
bones, and declared excellent. The nutmeg, with which they are in
the habit of stuffing their crops, flavors their flesh and renders
it delicious eating.
    "Now, Ned, what do you miss now?"
    "Some four-footed game, M. Aronnax. All these pigeons are only
side dishes, and trifles; and until I have killed an animal with
cutlets, I shall not be content."
    "Nor I, Ned, if I do not catch a bird of paradise."
    "Let us continue hunting," replied Conseil. "Let us go toward
the sea. We have arrived at the first declivities of the mountains,
and I think we had better regain the region of forests."
    That was sensible advice, and was followed out. After walking
for one hour, we had attained a forest of sago trees. Some inoffensive
serpents glided away from us. The birds of paradise fled at our
approach, and truly I despaired of getting near one, when Conseil, who
was walking in front, suddenly bent down, uttered a triumphal cry, and
came back to me bringing a magnificent specimen.
    "Ah! bravo, Conseil!"
    "Master is very good."
    "No, my boy; you have made an excellent stroke. Take one of
these living birds, and carry it in your hand."
    "If master will examine it, he will see that I have not deserved
great merit."
    "Why, Conseil?"
    "Because the bird is as drunk as a quail."
    "Yes, sir; drunk with the nutmegs that it devoured under the
nutmeg tree, under which I found it. See, friend Ned, see the
monstrous effects of intemperance!"
    "By jove!" exclaimed the Canadian, "because I have drunk gin for
two months, you must needs reproach me!"
    However, I examined the curious bird. Conseil was right. The bird,
drunk with the juice, was quite powerless. It could not fly; it
could hardly walk.
    This bird belonged to the most beautiful of the eight species that
are found in Papua and in the neighboring islands. It was the "large
emerald bird, the most rare kind." It measured three feet in length.
Its head was comparatively small, its eyes placed near the opening
of the beak, and also small. But the shades of color were beautiful,
having a yellow beak brown feet and claws, nut-colored wings with
purple pale yellow at the back of the neck and head, emerald color
at the throat, and chestnut on the breast and belly. Two horned
downy nets rose from below the tail, that prolonged the long light
feathers of admirable fineness, and they completed the whole of this
marvelous bird, which the natives have poetically named the "bird of
the sun."
    But if my wishes were satisfied by the possession of the bird of
paradise, the Canadian's were not yet. Happily about two o'clock Ned
Land brought down a magnificent hog, from the brood of those the
natives call "bari-outang." The animal came in time for us to
procure real quadruped meat, and he was well received. Ned Land was
very proud of his shot. The hog, hit by the electric ball, fell
stone dead. The Canadian skinned and cleaned it properly, after having
taken half a dozen cutlets, destined to furnish us with a grilled
repast in the evening. Then the hunt was resumed, which was still more
marked by Ned and Conseil's exploits.
    Indeed, the two friends, beating the bushes roused a herd of
kangaroos, that fled and bounded along on their elastic paws. But
these animals did not take flight so rapidly but that the electric
capsule could stop their course.
    "Ah, Professor!" cried Ned Land, who was carried away by the
delights of the chase, "what excellent game, and stewed too! What a
supply for the Nautilus! two! three! five down! And to think that we
shall eat that flesh, and that the idiots on board shall not have a
    I think that, in the excess of his joy, the Canadian, if he had
not talked so much, would have killed them all. But he contented
himself with a single dozen of these interesting marsupials. These
animals were small. They were a species of those "kangaroo rabbits"
that live habitually in the hollows of trees, and whose speed is
extreme; but they are moderately fat, and furnish, at least, estimable
food. We were very satisfied with the results of the hunt. Happy Ned
proposed to return to this enchanting island the next day, for he
wished to depopulate it of all the edible quadrupeds. But he
reckoned without his host.
    At six o'clock in the evening we had regained the shore, our
boat was moored to the usual place. The Nautilus, like a long rock,
emerged from the waves two miles from the beach. Ned Land, without
waiting, occupied himself about the important dinner business. He
understood all about cooking well. The "bari-outang," grilled on the
coals, soon scented the air with a delicious odor.
    Indeed, the dinner was excellent. Two wood pigeons completed
this extraordinary menu. The sago pasty, the artocarpus bread, some
mangoes, half a dozen pineapples, and the liquor fermented from some
coconuts, overjoyed us. I even think that my worthy companions'
ideas had not all the plainness desirable.
    "Suppose we do not return to the Nautilus this evening?" said
    "Suppose we never return?" added Ned Land.
    Just then a stone fell at our feet, and cut short the
harpooner's proposition.
                          CHAPTER XXI.

                   CAPTAIN NEMO'S THUNDERBOLT.

    WE LOOKED the edge of the forest without rising, my hand
stopping in the action of putting it to my mouth, Ned Land's
completing its office.
    "Stones do not fall from the sky," remarked Conseil, "or they
would merit the name of aerolites."
    A second stone, carefully aimed, that made a savory pigeon's leg
fall from Conseil's hand, gave still more weight to his observation.
We all three arose, shouldered our guns, and were ready to reply to
any attack.
    "Are they apes?" cried Ned Land.
    "Very nearly- they are savages."
    "To the boat!" I said, hurrying to the sea.
    It was indeed necessary to beat a retreat, for about twenty
natives, armed with bows and slings, appeared on the skirts of a copse
that masked the horizon to the right, hardly a hundred steps from us.
    Our boat was moored about sixty feet from us. The savages
approached us, not running; but making hostile demonstrations.
Stones and arrows fell thickly.
    Ned Land had not wished to leave his provisions; and, in spite
of his imminent danger, his pig on one side, and kangaroos on the
other, he went tolerably fast. In two minutes we were on the shore. To
load the boat with provisions and arms, to push it out to sea, and
ship the oars, was the work of an instant. We had not gone two cables'
lengths, when a hundred savages, howling and gesticulating, entered
the water up to their waists. I watched to see if their apparition
would attract some men, from the Nautilus on to the platform. But
no. The enormous machine, lying off, was absolutely deserted.
    Twenty minutes later we were on board. The panels were open. After
making the boat fast, we entered into the interior of the Nautilus.
    I descended to the drawing room, from whence I heard some
chords. Captain Nemo was there, bending over his organ, and plunged in
a musical ecstasy.
    He did not hear me.
    "Captain!" I said again, touching his hand.
    He shuddered, and turning round, said, "Ah, it is you,
Professor! Well, have you had a good hunt, have you botanized
    "Yes, Captain; but we have unfortunately brought a troop of
bipeds, whose vicinity troubles me."
    "What bipeds?"
    "Savages!" he echoed, ironically. "So you are astonished,
Professor at having set foot on a strange land and finding savages?
Savages! where are there not any? Besides, are they worse than others,
these whom you call savages?"
    "But, Captain"-
    "How many have you counted?"
    "A hundred at least."
    "M. Aronnax," replied Captain Nemo, placing his fingers on the
organ stops, "when all the natives of Papua are assembled on this
shore, the Nautilus will have nothing to fear from their attacks."
    The captain's fingers were then running over the keys of the
instrument, and I remarked that he touched only the black keys,
which gave to his melodies an essentially Scotch character. Soon he
had forgotten my presence, and had plunged into a reverie that I did
not disturb. I went up again on to the platform- night had already
fallen; for, in this low latitude, the sun sets rapidly and without
twilight. I could only see the island indistinctly; but the numerous
fires, lighted on the beach, showed that the natives did not think
of leaving it. I was alone for several hours, sometimes thinking of
the natives- but without any dread of them, for the imperturbable
confidence of the captain was catching- sometimes forgetting them to
admire the splendors of the night in the tropics. My remembrances went
to France, in the train of those zodiacal stars that would shine in
some hours' time. The moon shone in the midst of the constellations of
the zenith.
    The night slipped away without any mischance, the islanders
frightened no doubt at the sight of a monster aground in the bay.
The panels were open, and would have offered an easy access to the
interior of the Nautilus.
    At six o'clock in the morning of January 8, I went up on the
platform. The dawn was breaking. The island soon showed itself through
the dissipating fogs, first the shore, then the summits.
    The natives were there, more numerous than on the day before-
500 or 600 perhaps- some of them, profiting by the low water, had come
on to the coral, at less than two cable lengths from the Nautilus. I
distinguished them easily; they were true Papuans, with athletic
figures, men of good race, large high foreheads, large, but not
broad and flat, and white teeth. Their woolly hair, with a reddish
tinge, showed off on their black shining bodies like those of the
Nubians. From the lobes of their ears, cut and distended, hung
chaplets of bones. Most of these savages were naked. Among them, I
remarked some women, dressed from the hips to knees in quite a
crinoline of herbs, that sustained a vegetable waistband. Some
chiefs had ornamented their necks with a crescent and collars of glass
beads, red and white; nearly all were armed with bows, arrows, and
shields, and carried on their shoulders a sort of net containing those
round stones which they cast from their slings with great skill. One
of these chiefs, rather near to the Nautilus, examined it attentively.
He was, perhaps, a "mado" of high rank, for he was draped in a mat
of banana leaves, notched round the edges, and set off with
brilliant colors.
    I could easily have knocked down this native, who was within a.
short length; but I thought that it was better to wait for real
hostile demonstrations. Between Europeans and savages, it is proper
for the Europeans to parry sharply, not to attack.
    During low water the natives roamed about near the Nautilus, but
were not troublesome; I heard them frequently repeat the word "Assai,"
and by their gestures I understood that they invited me to go on land,
an invitation that I declined.
    So that, on that day, the boat did not push off, to the great
displeasure of Master Land, who could not complete his provisions.
    This adroit Canadian employed his time in preparing the viands and
meat that he had brought off the island. As for the savages, they
returned to the shore about eleven o'clock in the morning, as soon
as the coral tops began to disappear under the rising tide; but I
saw their numbers had increased considerably on the shore. Probably
they came from the neighboring islands, or very likely from Papua.
However, I had not seen a single native canoe. Having nothing better
to do, I thought of dragging these beautiful limpid waters, under
which I saw a profusion of shells, zoophytes, and marine plants.
Moreover, it was the last day that the Nautilus would pass in these
parts, if it float in open sea the next day, according to Captain
Nemo's promise.
    I therefore called Conseil, who brought me a little light drag,
very like those for the oyster fishery. Now to work! For two hours
we fished unceasingly, but without bringing up any rarities. The
drag was filled with midas ears, harps, melames, and particularly
the most beautiful hammers I have ever seen. We also brought up some
holothurias, pearl oysters, and a dozen little turtles, that were
reserved for the pantry on board.
    But just when I expected it least, I put my hand on a wonder, I
might say a natural deformity, very rarely met with. Conseil was
just dragging, and his net came up filled with several ordinary
shells, when, all at once, he saw me plunge my arm quickly into the
net, to draw out a shell, and heard me utter a conchological cry; that
is to say, the most piercing cry that human throat can utter.
    "What is the matter, Sir?" he asked, in surprise; "has master been
    "No, my boy; but I would willingly have given a finger for my
    "What discovery?"
    "This shell," I said, holding up the object of my triumph.
    "It is simply an olive porphyry, genus olive, order of the
pectinibranchidae, class of gasteropods, subclass of mollusca."
    "Yes, Conseil; but instead of being rolled from right to left,
this olive turns from left to right."
    "Is it possible?"
    "Yes, my boy; it is a left shell."
    Shells are all right-handed with rare exceptions; and, when by
chance their spiral is left, amateurs are ready to pay their weight in
    Conseil and I were absorbed in the contemplation of our
treasure, and I was promising myself to enrich the museum with it,
when a stone unfortunately thrown by a native, struck against, and
broke the precious object in Conseil's hand. I uttered a cry of
despair! Conseil took up his gun, and aimed at a savage who was
poising his sling at ten yards from him. I would have stopped him, but
his blow took effect, and broke the bracelet of amulets which
encircled the arm of the savage.
    "Conseil!" cried I. "Conseil!"
    "Well, Sir! do you not see that the cannibal has commenced the
    "A shell is not worth the life of a man," said I.
    "Ah! the scoundrel!" cried Conseil; "I would rather he had
broken my shoulder!"
    Conseil was in earnest, but I was not of his opinion. However
the situation had changed some minutes before, and we were not
perceived. A score of canoes surrounded the Nautilus. These canoes,
scooped out of the trunk of a tree, long, narrow, well adapted for
speed, were balanced by means of a long bamboo pole, which floated
on the water. They were managed by skilful half-naked paddlers and I
watched their advance with some uneasiness. It was evident that
these Papuans had already had dealings with the Europeans, and knew
their ships. But this long iron cylinder anchored in the bay,
without masts or chimney, what could they think of it? Nothing good,
for at first they kept at a respectful distance. However, seeing it
motionless, by degrees they took courage, and sought to familiarize
themselves with it. Now, this familiarity was precisely what it was
necessary to avoid. Our arms, which were noiseless, could produce only
a moderate effect on the savages who have little respect for aught but
blustering things. The thunderbolt without the reverberations of
thunder would frighten man but little, though the danger lies in the
lightning, not in the noise.
    At this moment the canoes approached the Nautilus, and a shower of
arrows alighted on her.
    I went down to the saloon, but found no one there. I ventured to
knock at the door that opened into the captain's room. "Come in,"
was the answer.
    I entered, and found Captain Nemo deep in algebraical calculations
of x and other quantities.
    "I am disturbing you," said I, for courtesy's sake.
    "That is true, M. Aronnax," replied the captain; "but I think
you have serious reasons for wishing to see me?"
    "Very grave ones; the natives are surrounding us in their
canoes, and in a few minutes we shall certainly be attacked by many
hundreds of savages."
    "Ah!" said Captain Nemo, quietly, "they are come with their
    "Yes, Sir."
    "Well, Sir, we must close the hatches."
    "Exactly, and I came to say to you"-
    "Nothing can be more simple," said Captain Nemo. And pressing an
electric button, he transmitted an order to the ship's crew.
    "It is all done, Sir," said he, after some moments. "The pinnace
is ready, and the hatches are closed. You do not fear, I imagine, that
these gentlemen could, stave in walls on which the balls of your
frigate have had no effect?"
    "No, Captain; but a danger still exists."
    "What is that, Sir?"
    "It is that tomorrow, at about this hour, we must open the hatches
to renew the air of the Nautilus. Now, if, at this moment, the Papuans
should occupy the platform, do not see how you could prevent them from
    "Then you suppose that they will board us?"
    "I am certain of it."
    "Well, let them come. I see no reason for hindering them. After
all, these Papuans are poor creatures, and I am unwilling that my
visit to the Island of Gueberoan should cost the life of a single
one of these wretches."
    Upon that I was going away; but Captain Nemo detained me, and
asked me to sit down by him. He questioned me with interest about
our excursions on shore, and our hunting; and seemed not to understand
the craving for meat that possessed the Canadian. Then the
conversation turned on various subjects, and without being more
communicative, Captain Nemo showed himself more amiable.
    Among other things, we happened to speak of the situation of the
Nautilus, run aground in exactly the same spot in this strait where
Dumont d'Urville was nearly lost. Apropos of this-
    "This D'Urville was one of your great sailors," said the captain
to me, "one of your most intelligent navigators. He is the Captain
Cook of you Frenchmen. Unfortunate man of science, after having braved
the icebergs of the South Pole, the coral reefs of Oceania, the
cannibals of the Pacific, to perish miserably in a railway train! If
this energetic man could have reflected during the last moments of his
life, what must have been uppermost in his last thoughts, do you
    So speaking, Captain Nemo seemed moved, and his emotion gave me
a better opinion of him. Then, chart in hand, we reviewed the
travels of the French navigator, his voyages of circumnavigation,
his double detention at the South Pole, which led to the discovery
of Adelaide and Louis Philippe, and fixing the hydrographical bearings
of the principal islands of Oceania.
    "That which your D'Urville has done on the surface of the seas,"
said Captain Nemo, "that have I done under them, and more easily, more
completely than he. The Astrolabe and the Zelia, incessantly tossed
about by the hurricanes, could not be worth the Nautilus, quiet
repository of labor that she is, truly motionless in the midst of
the waters.
    "Tomorrow," added the captain, rising, "tomorrow, at twenty
minutes to three P.M., the Nautilus shall float, and leave the
Strait of Torres uninjured."
    Having curtly pronounced these words, Captain Nemo bowed slightly.
This was to dismiss me, and I went back to my room.
    There I found Conseil, who wished to know the result of my
interview with the captain.
    "My boy," said I, "when I feigned to believe that his Nautilus was
threatened by the natives of Papua, the captain answered me very
sarcastically. I have but one thing to say to you: Have confidence
in him, and go to sleep in peace."
    "Have you no need of my services, Sir?"
    "No, my friend. What is Ned Land doing?"
    "If you will excuse me," answered Conseil, "friend Ned is busy
making a kangaroo pie, which will be a marvel."
    I remained alone, and went to bed, but slept indifferently. I
heard the noise of the savages, who stamped on the platform uttering
deafening cries. The night passed thus, without disturbing the
ordinary repose of the crew. The presence of these cannibals
affected them no more than the soldiers of a masked battery care for
the ants that crawl over its front.
    At six in the morning I rose. The hatches had not been opened. The
inner air was not renewed, but the reservoirs, filled ready for any
emergency, were now resorted to, and discharged several cubic feet
of oxygen into the exhausted atmosphere of the Nautilus.
    I worked in my room till noon, without having seen Captain Nemo,
even for an instant. On board no preparations for departure were
    I waited still some time, then went into the large saloon. The
clock marked half after two. In ten minutes it would be high tide:
and, if Captain Nemo had not made a rash promise, the Nautilus would
be immediately detached. If not, many months would pass ere she
could leave her bed of coral.
    However, some warning vibrations began to be felt in the vessel. I
heard the keel grating against the rough calcareous bottom of the
coral reef.
    At twenty-five minutes to three, Captain Nemo appeared in the
    "We are going to start," said he.
    "Ah!" replied I.
    "I have given the order to open the hatches."
    "And the Papuans?"
    "The Papuans?" answered Captain Nemo, slightly shrugging his
    "Will they not come inside the Nautilus?"
    "Only by leaping over the hatches you have opened."
    "M. Aronnax," quietly answered Captain Nemo, "they will not
enter the hatches of the Nautilus in that way, even if they were
    I looked at the captain.
    "You do not understand?" said he.
    "Well, come and you will see."
    I directed my steps toward the central staircase. There Ned Land
and Conseil were slyly watching some of the ship's crew, who were
opening the hatches, while cries of rage and fearful vociferations
resounded outside.
    The port lids were pulled down outside. Twenty horrible faces
appeared. But the first native who placed his hand on the stair
rail, struck from behind by some invisible force, I know not what,
fled, uttering the most fearful cries, and making the wildest
    Ten of his companions followed him. They met with the same fate.
    Conseil was in ecstasy. Ned Land, carried away by his violent
instincts, rushed on to the staircase. But the moment he seized the
rail with both hands, he, in his turn, was overthrown.
    "I am struck by a thunderbolt," cried he, with an oath.
    This explained all. It was no rail, but a metallic cable,
charged with electricity from the deck, communicating with the
platform. Whoever touched it felt a powerful shock; this shock would
have been mortal, if Captain Nemo had discharged into the conductor
the whole force of the current. It might truly be said that between
his assailants and himself he had stretched a network of electricity
which none could pass with impunity.
    Meanwhile, the exasperated Papuans had beaten a retreat, paralyzed
with terror. As for us, half laughing, we consoled and rubbed the
unfortunate Ned Land, who swore like one possessed.
    But, at this moment, the Nautilus, raised by the last waves of the
tide, quitted her coral bed exactly at the fortieth minute fixed by
the captain. Her screw swept the waters slowly and majestically. Her
speed increased gradually, and sailing on the surface of the ocean,
she quitted safe and sound the dangerous passes of the Strait of
                          CHAPTER XXII.

                         "AEGRI SOMNIA".

    THE following day, January 10, the Nautilus continued her course
between two seas, but with such remarkable speed that I could not
estimate it at less than thirty-five miles an hour. The rapidity of
her screw was such that I could neither follow nor count its
revolutions. When I reflected that this marvelous electric agent,
after having afforded motion, heat, and light to the Nautilus, still
protected her from outward attack, and transformed her into an ark
of safety, which no profane hand might touch without being
thunderstricken, my admiration was unbounded, and from the structure
it extended to the engineer who had called it into existence.
    Our course was directed to the west, and on January 11 we double
Cape Wessel, situated in 135 degrees longitude, and 10 degrees north
latitude, which forms the east point of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The
reefs were still numerous, but more equalized, and marked on the chart
with extreme precision. The Nautilus easily avoided the breakers of
Money to port, and the Victoria reefs to starboard, placed at 130
degrees longitude, and on the tenth parallel which we strictly
    On January 13, Captain Nemo arrived in the Sea of Timor, and
recognized the island of that name in 122 degrees longitude.
    From this point, the direction of the Nautilus inclined towards
the southwest. Her head was set for the Indian Ocean. Where would
the fancy of Captain Nemo carry us next? Would he return to the
coast of Asia? or would he approach again the shores of Europe?
Improbable conjectures both, for a man who fled from inhabited
continents. Then, would he descend to the south? Was he going to
double the Cape of Good Hope, then Cape Horn, and finally go as far as
the Antarctic Pole? Would he come back at last to the Pacific, where
his Nautilus could sail free and independently? Time would show.
    After having skirted the sands of Cartier, of Hibernia,
Seringapatam, and Scott, last efforts of the solid against the
liquid element, on January 14 we lost sight of land altogether. The
speed of the Nautilus was considerably abated, and, with irregular
course, she sometimes swam in the bosom of the waters, sometimes
floated on their surface.
    During this period of the voyage, Captain Nemo made some
interesting experiments on the varied temperature of the sea, in
different beds. Under ordinary conditions, these observations are made
by means of rather complicated instruments, and with somewhat doubtful
results, by means of thermometrical sounding leads, the glasses
often breaking under the pressure of the water, or an apparatus
grounded on the variations of the resistance of metals to the electric
currents. Results so obtained could not be correctly calculated. On
the contrary, Captain Nemo went himself to test the temperature in the
depths of the sea, and his thermometer, placed in communication with
the different sheets of water, gave him the required degree
immediately and accurately.
    It was thus that, either by overloading her reservoirs, or by
descending obliquely by means of her inclined planes, the Nautilus
successively attained the depth of three, four, five, seven, nine, and
ten thousand yards, and the definite result of this experience was
that the sea preserved an average temperature of four degrees and a
half, at a depth of five thousand fathoms, under all latitudes.
    On January 16, the Nautilus seemed becalmed, only a few yards
beneath the surface of the waves. Her electric apparatus remained
inactive, and her motionless screw left her to drift at the mercy of
the currents. I suppose that the crew was occupied with interior
repairs, rendered necessary by the violence of the mechanical
movements of the machine.
    My companions and I then witnessed a curious spectacle. The
hatches of the saloon were open, and, as the beacon light of the
Nautilus was not in action, a dim obscurity reigned in the midst of
the waters. I observed the state of the sea under these conditions,
and the largest fish appeared to me no more than scarcely defined
shadows, when the Nautilus found herself suddenly transported into
full light. I thought at first that the beacon had been lighted and
was casting its electric radiance into the liquid mass. I was
mistaken, and after a rapid survey, perceived my error.
    The Nautilus floated in the midst of a phosphorescent bed,
which, in this obscurity, became quite dazzling. It was produced by
myriads of luminous animalculae, whose brilliancy was increased as
they glided over the metallic hull of the vessel. I was surprised by
lightning in the midst of these luminous sheets, as though they had
been rivulets of lead melted in an ardent furnace, or metallic
masses brought to a white heat, so that, by force of contrast, certain
portions of light appeared to cast a shade in the midst of the general
ignition, from which all shade seemed banished. No, this was not the
calm irradiation of our ordinary lightning. There was unusual life and
vigor; this was truly living light!
    In reality, it was an infinite agglomeration of colored infusoria,
of veritable globules of diaphanous jelly, provided with a
threadlike tentacle, and of which as many as twenty-five thousand have
been counted in less than two cubic half-inches of water; and their
light was increased by the glimmering peculiar to the medusae,
starfish, aurelia, and other phosphorescent zoophytes, impregnated
by the grease of the organic matter decomposed by the sea, and,
perhaps, the mucus secreted by the fish.
    During several hours the Nautilus floated in the bresilliant
waves, and our admiration increased as we watched the marine
monsters disporting themselves like salamanders. I saw there, in the
midst of this fire that burns not, the swift and elegant porpoise (the
indefatigable clown of the ocean), and some swordfish, ten feet
long, those prophetic heralds of the hurricane, whose formidable sword
would now and then strike the glass of the saloon. Then appeared the
smaller fish, the variegated balista, the leaping mackerel, wolf
thorntails, and a hundred others which striped the luminous atmosphere
as they swam. This dazzling spectacle was enchanting! Perhaps some
atmospheric condition increased the intensity of this phenomenon.
Perhaps some storm agitated the surface of the waves. But, at this
depth of some yards, the Nautilus was unmoved by its fury, and reposed
peacefully in still water.
    So we progressed, incessantly charmed by some new marvel.
Conseil arranged and classed his zoophytes, his articulata, his
mollusks, his fishes. The days passed rapidly away, and I took no
account of them. Ned, according to habit, tried to vary the diet on
board. Like snails, we were fixed to our shells, and I declare it is
easy to lead a snail's life.
    Thus, this life seemed easy and natural, and we thought no
longer of the life we led on land; but something happened to recall us
to the strangeness of our situation.
    On January 18, the Nautilus was in 105 degrees longitude and 15
degrees south latitude. The weather was threatening, the sea rough and
rolling. There was a strong east wind. The barometer, which had been
going down for some days, foreboded a coming storm. I went up on the
platform just as the second lieutenant was taking the measure of the
horary angles, and waited, according to habit, till the daily phrase
was said. But, on this day, it was exchanged for another phrase not
less incomprehensible. Almost directly I saw Captain Nemo appear, with
a glass, looking toward the horizon.
    For some minutes he was immovable, without taking his eye off
the point of observation. Then he lowered his glass, and exchanged a
few words with his lieutenant. The latter seemed to be a victim to
some emotion that he tried in vain to repress. Captain Nemo, having
more command over himself, was cool. He seemed, too, to be making some
objections, to which the lieutenant replied by formal assurances. At
least I concluded so by the difference of their tones and gestures.
For myself, I had looked carefully in the direction indicated
without seeing anything. The sky and water were lost in the clear line
of the horizon.
    However, Captain Nemo walked from one end of the platform to the
other, without looking at me, perhaps without seeing me. His step
was firm, but less regular than usual. He stopped sometimes, crossed
his arms, and observed the sea. What could he be looking for on that
immense expanse?
    The Nautilus was then some hundreds of miles from the nearest
    The lieutenant had taken up the glass, and examined the horizon
steadfastly, going and coming, stamping his foot and showing more
nervous agitation than his superior officer. Besides, this mystery
must necessarily be solved, and before long; for, upon an order from
Captain Nemo, the engine increasing its propelling power, made the
screw turn more rapidly.
    Just then, the lieutenant drew the captain's attention again.
The latter stopped walking and directed his glass toward the place
indicated. He looked long. I felt very much puzzled, and descended
to the drawing room, and took out an excellent telescope that I
generally used. Then leaning on the cage of the watch light, that
jutted out from the front of the platform, set myself to look over all
the line of the sky and sea.
    But my eye was no sooner applied to the glass, than it was quickly
snatched out of my hands.
    I turned round. Captain Nemo was before me, but I did not know
him. His face was transfigured. His eyes flashed sullenly; his teeth
were set; his stiff body, clenched fists, and head shrunk between
his shoulders, betrayed the violent agitation that pervaded his
whole frame. He did not move. My glass, fallen from his hands, had
rolled at his feet.
    Had I unwittingly provoked this fit of anger? Did this
incomprehensible person imagine that I had discovered some forbidden
secret? No; I was not the object of this hatred for he was not looking
at me; his eye was steadily fixed upon the impenetrable point of the
horizon. At last Captain Nemo recovered himself. His agitation
subsided. He addressed some words in a foreign language to his
lieutenant, then turned to me. "M. Aronnax," he said, in rather an
imperious tone, "I require you to keep one of the conditions that bind
you to me."
    "What is it, Captain?"
    "You must be confined, with your companions, until I think fit
to release you."
    "You are the master," I replied, looking steadily at him. "But may
I ask you one question?"
    "None, Sir!"
    There was no resisting this imperious command; it would have
been useless. I went down to the cabin occupied by Ned Land and
Conseil, and told them the captain's determination. You may judge
how this communication was received by the Canadian.
    But there was no time for altercation. Four of the crew waited
at the door, and conducted us to that cell where we had passed our
first night on board the Nautilus.
    Ned Land would have remonstrated, but the door was shut upon him.
    "Will master tell me what this means?" asked Conseil.
    I told my companions what had passed. They were as much astonished
as I, and equally at a loss how to account for it.
    Meanwhile, I was absorbed in my own reflections, and could think
of nothing but the strange fear depicted in the captain's countenance.
I was utterly at a loss to account for it, when my cogitations were
disturbed by these words from Ned Land:
    "Hello! breakfast is ready!"
    And indeed the table was laid. Evidently Nemo had given this order
at the same time that he had hastened the speed of the Nautilus.
    "Will master permit me to make a recommendation?" asked Conseil.
    "Yes, my boy."
    "Well, it is that master breakfasts. It is prudent, for we do
not know what may happen."
    "You are right, Conseil."
    "Unfortunately," said Ned Land, "they have only given us the
ship's fare."
    "Friend Ned," asked Conseil, "what would you have said if the
breakfast had been entirely forgotten?"
    This argument cut short the harpooner's recriminations.
    We sat down to table. The meal was eaten in silence.
    Just then, the luminous globe that lighted the cell went out,
and left us in total darkness. Ned Land was soon asleep, and what
astonished me was that Conseil went off into a heavy sleep. I was
thinking what could have caused his irresistible drowsiness, when I
felt my brain becoming stupefied. In spite of my efforts to keep my
eyes open, they would close. A painful, suspicion seized me. Evidently
soporific substances had been mixed with the food we had just taken.
Imprisonment was not enough to conceal Captain Nemo's projects from
us; sleep was more necessary.
    I then heard the panels shut. The undulations of the sea, which
caused a slight rolling motion, ceased. Had the Nautilus quitted the
surface of the ocean? Had it gone back to the motionless bed of water?
I tried to resist sleep. It was impossible. My breathing grew weak.
I felt a mortal cold freeze my stiffened and half-paralyzed limbs.
My eyelids, like leaden caps, fell over my eyes. I could not raise
them; a morbid sleep, full of hallucinations, bereft me of my being.
Then the visions disappeared, and left me in complete insensibility.
                         CHAPTER XXIII.

                       THE CORAL KINGDOM.

    THE next day I woke with my head singularly clear. To my great
surprise I was in my own room. My companions, no doubt, had been
reinstated in their cabin, without having perceived it any more than
I. Of what had passed during the night they were as ignorant as I was,
and to penetrate this mystery I only reckoned upon the chances of
the future.
    I then thought of quitting my room. Was I free again or a
prisoner? Quite free. I opened the door, went to the half deck, went
up the central stairs. The panels, shut the evening before, were open.
I went on to the platform.
    Ned Land and Conseil waited there for me. I questioned them;
they knew nothing. Lost in a heavy sleep in which they had been
totally unconscious, they had been astonished at finding themselves in
their cabin.
    As for the Nautilus, it seemed quiet and mysterious as ever. It
floated on the surface of the waves at a moderate pace. Nothing seemed
changed on board.
  The second lieutenant then came on to the platform, and gave the
usual order below.
    As for Captain Nemo, he did not appear.
    Of the people on board, I only saw the impassive steward, who
served me with his usual dumb regularity.
    About two o'clock, I was in the drawing room, busied in
arranging my notes, when the captain opened the door and appeared. I
bowed. He made a slight inclination in return, without speaking. I
resumed my work, hoping that he would perhaps give me some explanation
of the events of the preceding night. He made none. I looked at him.
He seemed fatigued; his heavy eyes had not been refreshed by sleep;
his face looked very sorrowful. He walked to and fro, sat down and got
up again, took up a chance book, put it down, consulted his
instruments without taking his habitual notes, and seemed restless and
uneasy. At last, he came up to me, and said:
    "Are you a doctor, M. Aronnax?"
    I so little expected such a question, that I stared some time at
him without answering.
    "Are you a doctor?" he repeated. "Several of your colleagues
have studied medicine."
    "Well," said I, "I am a doctor and resident surgeon to the
hospital. I practiced several years before entering the museum."
    "Very well, Sir."
    My answer had evidently satisfied the captain. But not knowing
what he would say next, I waited for other questions, reserving my
answers according to circumstances.
    "M. Aronnax, will you consent to prescribe for one of my men?"
he asked.
    "Is he ill?"
    "I am ready to follow you."
    "Come then."
    I own my heart beat, I do not know why. I saw a certain connection
between the illness of one of the crew and the events of the day
before; and this mystery interested me at least as much as the sick
    Captain Nemo conducted me to the poop of the Nautilus and took
me into a cabin situated near the sailors' quarters.
    There, on a bed, lay a man about forty years of age, with a
resolute expression of countenance, a true type of an Anglo-Saxon.
    I leaned over him. He was not only ill, he was wounded. His
head, swathed in bandages covered with blood, lay on a pillow. I undid
the bandages, and the wounded man looked at me with his large eyes and
gave no sign of pain as I did it. It was a horrible wound. The
skull, shattered by some deadly weapon, left the brain exposed,
which was much injured. Clots of blood had formed in the bruised and
broken mass, in color like the dregs of wine.
    There was both contusion and suffusion of the brain. His breathing
was slow, and some spasmodic movements of the muscles agitated his
face. I felt his pulse. It was intermittent. The extremities of the
body were growing cold already, and I saw death must inevitably ensue.
After dressing the unfortunate man's wounds, I readjusted the bandages
on his head, and turned to Captain Nemo.
    "What caused this wound?" I asked.
    "What does it signify?" he replied, evasively. "A shock has broken
one of the levers of the engine, which struck myself. But your opinion
as to his state?"
    I hesitated before giving it.
    "You may speak," said the captain, "This man does not understand
    I gave a last look at the wounded man.
    "He will be dead in two hours."
    "Can nothing save him?"
    Captain Nemo's hand contracted, and some tears glistened in his
eyes, which I thought incapable of shedding any.
    For some moments I still watched the dying man, whose life ebbed
slowly. His pallor increased under the electric light that was shed
over his deathbed. I looked at his intelligent forehead, furrowed with
premature wrinkles, produced probably by misfortune and sorrow. I
tried to learn the secret of his life from the last words that escaped
his lips.
    "You can go now, M. Aronnax," said the captain.
    I left him in the dying man's cabin, and returned to my room
much affected by this scene. During the whole day, I was haunted by
uncomfortable suspicions, and at night I slept badly, and, between
my broken dreams, I fancied I heard distant sighs like the notes of
a funeral psalm. Were they the prayers of the dead, murmured in that
language that I could not understand?
    The next morning I went on to the bridge. Captain Nemo was there
before me. As soon as he perceived me he came to me.
    "Professor, will it be convenient to you to make a submarine
excursion today?"
    "With my companions?" I asked.
    "If they like."
    "We obey your orders, Captain."
    "Will you be so good then as to put on your cork jackets?"
    It was not a question of dead or dying. I rejoined Ned Land and
Conseil, and told them of Captain Nemo's proposition. Conseil hastened
to accept it, and this time the Canadian seemed quite willing to
follow our example.
    It was eight o'clock in the morning. At half after eight we were
equipped for this new excursion, and provided with two contrivances
for light and breathing. The double door was open; and accompanied
by Captain Nemo, who was followed by a dozen of the crew, we set foot,
at a depth of about thirty feet, on the solid bottom on which the
Nautilus rested.
    A slight declivity ended in an uneven bottom, at fifteen fathoms
depth. This bottom differed entirely from the one I had visited on
my first excursion under the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Here,
there was no fine sand, no submarine prairies, no sea forest. I
immediately recognized that marvelous region in which, on that day,
the captain did the honors to us. It was the coral kingdom. In the
zoophyte branch and in the alcyon class I noticed the gorgoneae, the
isidiae, and the corollariae.
    The light produced a thousand charming varieties, playing in the
midst of the branches that were so vividly colored. I seemed to see
the membranous and cylindrical tubes tremble beneath the undulation of
the waters. I was tempted to gather their fresh petals, ornamented
with delicate tentacules, some just blown, the others budding, while
small fish, swimming swiftly, touched them slightly, like flights of
birds. But if my hand approached these living flowers, these
animated sensitive plants, the whole colony took alarm. The white
petals reentered their red cases, the flowers faded as I looked, and
the bush changed into a block of stony knobs.
    Chance had thrown me just by the most precious specimens of this
zoophyte. This coral was more valuable than that found in the
Mediterranean, on the coasts of France, Italy, and Barbary. Its
tints justified the poetical names of "Flower of Blood," and "Froth of
Blood," that trade has given to its most beautiful productions.
Coral is sold for about $100 an ounce; and in this place, the watery
beds would make the fortunes of a company of coral divers. This
precious matter, often confused with other polypi, formed then the
inextricable plots called macciota, and on which I noticed several
beautiful specimens of pink coral.
    But soon the bushes contract, and the arborizations increase. Real
petrified thickets, long joists of fantastic architecture, were
disclosed before us. Captain Nemo placed himself under a dark gallery,
where by a slight declivity we reached a depth of a hundred yards. The
light from our lamps produced sometimes magical effects, following the
rough outlines of the natural arches, and pendants disposed like
lusters, that were tipped with points of fire. Between the coralline
shrubs I noticed other polypi not less curious, melites, and irises
with articulated ramifications, also some tufts of coral, some
green, others red, like seaweed incrusted in their calcareous salts,
that naturalists, after long discussion, have definitely classed in
the vegetable kingdom. But following the remark of a thinking man,
"there is perhaps the real point where life rises obscurely from the
sleep of a stone, without detaching itself from the rough point of
    At last, after walking two hours, we had attained a depth of about
three hundred yards, that is to say, the extreme limit on which
coral begins to form. But there was no isolated bush, nor modest
brushwood, at the bottom of lofty trees. It was an immense forest of
large mineral vegetations, enormous petrified trees, united by
garlands of elegant plumarias, sea bindweed, all adorned with clouds
and reflections. We passed freely under their high branches, lost in
the shade of the waves, while at out feet, tubipores, meandrines,
stars, fungi, and caryophyllidae formed a carpet of flowers sown
with dazzling gems. What an indescribable spectacle!
    Captain Nemo had stopped. I and my companions halted, and
turning round, I saw his men were forming a semicircle round their
chief. Watching attentively, I observed that four of them carried on
their shoulders and object of an oblong shape.
    We occupied, in this place, the center of a vast glade
surrounded by the lofty foliage of the submarine forest. Our lamps
threw over this place a sort of clear twilight that singularly
elongated the shadows on the ground. At the end of the glade the
darkness increased, and was only relieved by little sparks reflected
by the points of coral.
    Ned Land and Conseil were near me. We watched, and I thought I was
going to witness a strange scene. On observing the ground, I saw
that it was raised in certain places by slight excrescences
incrusted with limy deposits, and disposed with a regularity that
betrayed the hand of man.
    In the midst of the glade, on a pedestal of rocks roughly piled
up, stood a cross of coral, that extended its long arms that one might
have thought were made of petrified blood.
    Upon a sign from Captain Nemo, one of the men advanced; and at
some feet from the cross, he began to dig a hole with a pickax that he
took from his belt. I understood all! This glade was a cemetery,
this hole a tomb, this oblong object the body of the man who had
died in the night The captain and his men had come to bury their
companion in this general resting place, at the bottom of this
inaccessible ocean!
    The grave was being dug slowly; the fish fled on all sides while
their retreat was being thus disturbed; I heard the strokes of the
pickax, which sparked when it hit upon some flint lost at the bottom
of the waters. The hole was soon large and deep enough to receive
the body. Then the bearers approached; the body, enveloped in a tissue
of white byssus, was lowered into the damp grave. Captain Nemo, with
his arms crossed on his breast, and all the friends of him who had
loved them, knelt in prayer.
    The grave was then filled in with the rubbish taken from the
ground, which formed a slight mound. When this was done, Captain
Nemo and his men rose; then, approaching the grave, they knelt
again, and all extended their hands in sign of a last adieu. Then
the funeral procession returned to the Nautilus, passing under the
arches of the forest, in the midst of thickets, along the coral
bushes, and still on the ascent. At last the fires on board
appeared, and their luminous track guided us to the Nautilus. At one
o'clock we had returned.
    As soon as I had changed my clothes, I went up on the platform,
and, a prey to conflicting emotions, I sat down near the binnacle.
Captain Nemo joined me. I rose and said to him:
    "So, as I said he would, this man died in the night?"
    "Yes, M. Aronnax."
    "And he rests now, near his companions, in the coral cemetery?"
    "Yes, forgotten by all else, but not by us. We dug the grave,
and the polypi undertake to seal our dead for eternity." And burying
his face quickly in his hands, he tried in vain to suppress a sob.
Then he added, "Our peaceful cemetery is there, some hundred feet
below the surface of the waves."
    "Your dead sleep quietly, at least, Captain, out of the reach of
    "Yes, Sir, of sharks and men," gravely replied the captain.
                            PART II.

                           CHAPTER I.

                        THE INDIAN OCEAN.

    WE NOW come to the second part of our journey under the sea. The
first ended with the moving scene in the coral cemetery, which left
such a deep impression on my mind. Thus, in the midst of this great
sea, Captain Nemo's life was passing even to his grave, which he had
prepared in one of its deepest abysses. There, not one of the
ocean's monsters could trouble the last sleep of the crew of the
Nautilus, of those friends riveted to one another in death as in life.
"Nor any man either," had added the captain. Still the same fierce,
implacable defiance toward human society!
    I could no longer content myself with the hypothesis which
satisfied Conseil.
    That worthy fellow persisted in seeing in the commander of the
Nautilus one of those unknown savants who return mankind contempt
for indifference. For him, he was a misunderstood genius, who, tired
of earth's deceptions, had taken refuge in this inaccessible medium,
where he might follow his instincts freely. To my mind, this
hypothesis explained but one side of Captain Nemo's character.
    Indeed, the mystery of that last night, during which we had been
chained in prison, the sleep, and the precaution so violently taken by
the captain of snatching from my eyes the glass I had raised to
sweep the horizon, the mortal wound of the man, due to an
unaccountable shock of the Nautilus, all put me on a new track. No,
Captain Nemo was not satisfied with shunning man. His formidable
apparatus not only suited his instinct of freedom, but, perhaps,
also the design of some terrible retaliation.
    At this moment, nothing is clear to me; I catch but a glimpse of
light amidst all the darkness, and I must confine myself to writing as
events shall dictate.
    That day, January 24, 1868, at noon, the second officer came to
take the altitude of the sun. I mounted the platform, lit a cigar, and
watched the operation. It seemed to me that the man did not understand
French; for several times I made remarks in a loud voice, which must
have drawn from him some involuntary sign of attention, if he had
understood them; but he remained undisturbed and dumb.
    As he was taking observations with the sextant, one of the sailors
of the Nautilus (the strong man who had accompanied us on our first
submarine excursion to the Island of Crespo) came to clean the glasses
of the lantern. I examined the fittings of the apparatus, the strength
of which was increased a hundredfold by lenticular rings, placed
similar to those in a lighthouse, and which projected their brilliance
in a horizontal plane. The electric lamp was combined in such a way as
to give its most powerful light. Indeed, it was produced in vacuo,
which insured both its steadiness and its intensity. This vacuum
economized the graphite points, between which the luminous arc was
developed- an important point of economy for Captain Nemo, who could
not easily have replaced them; and under these conditions their
waste was imperceptible. When the Nautilus was ready to continue its
submarine journey, I went down to the saloon. The panels were
closed, and the course marked direct west.
    We were furrowing the waters of the Indian Ocean, a vast liquid
plain, with a surface of 1,200,000,000 of acres, and whose waters
are so clear and transparent that anyone leaning over them would
turn giddy. The Nautilus usually floated between fifty and a hundred
fathoms deep. We went on so for some days. To anyone but myself, who
had a great love for the sea, the hours would have seemed long and
monotonous; but the daily walks on the platform, when I steeped myself
in the reviving air of the ocean, the sight of the rich waters through
the windows of the saloon, the books in the library, the compiling
of my memoirs, took up all my time, and left me not a moment of
ennui or weariness.
    For some days we saw a great number of aquatic birds, sea mews
or gulls. Some were cleverly killed, and, prepared in a certain way,
made very acceptable water game. Among large winged birds, carried a
long distance from all lands, and resting upon the waves from the
fatigue of their flight, I saw some magnificent albatrosses,
uttering discordant cries like the braying of an ass, and birds
belonging to the family of the longipennates. The family of the
totipalmates was represented by the sea swallows, which caught the
fish from the surface, and by numerous phaetons, or lepturi; amongst
others, the phaeton with red lines, as large as a pigeon, whose
white plumage, tinted with pink, shows off to advantage the
blackness of its wings.
    As to the fish, they always provoked our admiration when we
surprised the secrets of their aquatic life through the open panels. I
saw many kinds which I never before had a chance of observing.
    I shall notice chiefly ostracions peculiar to the Red Sea, the
Indian Ocean, and that part which washes the coast of tropical
America. These fishes, like the tortoise, the armadillo, the sea
hedgehog, and the crustacea, are protected by a breastplate which is
neither chalky nor stony, but real bone. In some it takes the form
of a solid triangle, in others of a solid quadrangle. Among the
triangular I saw some an inch and a half in length, with wholesome
flesh and a delicious flavor; they are brown at the tail, and yellow
at the fins, and I recommend their introduction into fresh water, to
which a certain number of sea fish easily accustom themselves. I would
also mention quadrangular ostracions, having on the back four large
tubercles; some dotted over with white spots on the lower part of
the body, and which may be tamed like birds; trigons provided with
spikes formed by the lengthening of their bony shell, and which,
from their strange gruntings, are called "sea pigs"; also
dromedaries with large humps in the shape of a cone, whose flesh is
very tough and leathery.
    I now borrow from the daily notes of Master Conseil. "Certain fish
of the genus petrodon peculiar to those seas, with red backs and white
chests, which are distinguished by three rows of longitudinal
filaments; and some electrical seven inches long, decked in the
liveliest colors. Then, specimens of other kinds, some ovoides,
resembling an egg of a dark brown color, marked with white bands,
and without tails; diodons, real sea porcupines, furnished with
spikes, and capable of swelling in such a way as to look like cushions
bristling with darts; hippocampi, common to every ocean; some pegasi
with lengthened snouts, which their pectoral fins, being much
elongated and formed in the shape of wings, allow, if not to fly, at
least to shoot into the air; pigeon spatulae, with tails covered
with many rings of shall; macrognathi with long jaws, an excellent
fish, nine inches long, and bright with most agreeable colors;
pale-colored calliomores with rugged heads; and plenty of
chaetodons, with long and tubular muzzles, which kill insects by
shooting them, as from an air gun, with a single drop of water.
These we may call the flycatchers of the seas.
    "In the eighty-ninth genus of fishes, classed by Lacepede,
belonging to the second lower class of bony, characterized by
opercules and bronchial membranes, I remarked the scorpaena, the
head of which is furnished with spikes, and which has but one dorsal
fin; these creatures are covered, or not, with little shells according
to the subclass to which they belong. The second subclass gives us
specimens of didactyles fourteen or fifteen inches in length, with
yellow rays, and heads of a most fantastic appearance. As to the first
subclass, it gives several specimens of that singular-looking fish
appropriately called a "sea frog," with large head, sometimes
pierced with holes, sometimes swollen with protuberances, bristling
with spikes, and covered with tubercles it has irregular and hideous
horns; its body and tail are covered with callosities; its sting makes
a dangerous wound; it is both repugnant and horrible to look at."
    From January 21 to January 23 the Nautilus went at the rate of two
hundred fifty leagues in twenty-four hours, being five hundred forty
miles, or twenty-two miles an hour. If we recognized so many different
varieties of fish, it was because, attracted by the electric light,
they tried to follow us; the greater part, however, were soon
distanced by our speed, though some kept their place in the waters
of the Nautilus for a time. The morning of January 24, in 12 degrees
5' south latitude, and 94 degrees 33' longitude, we observed Keeling
Island, a madrepore formation, planted with magnificent cocoas, and
which had been visited by Mr. Darwin and Captain Fitzroy. The Nautilus
skirted the shores of this desert island for a little distance. Its
nets brought up numerous specimens of polypi, and curious shells of
mollusca. Some precious productions of the species of delphinulae
enriched the treasures of Captain Nemo, to which I added an astraea
punctifera, a kind of parasite polypus often found fixed to a shell.
Soon Keeling Island disappeared from the horizon, and our course was
directed to the northwest in the direction of the Indian Peninsula.
    From Keeling Island our course was slower and more variable, often
taking us into great depths. Several times they made use of the
inclined planes, which certain internal levers placed obliquely to the
water line. In that way we went about two miles, but without ever
obtaining the greatest depths of the Indian Sea, which soundings of
seven thousand fathoms have never reached. As to the temperature of
the lower strata, the thermometer invariably indicated 4 degrees above
zero. I only observed that, in the upper regions, the water was always
colder in the high levels than at the surface of the sea.
    On January 25, the ocean was entirely deserted; the Nautilus
passed the day on the surface, beating the waves with its powerful
screw, and making them rebound to great height. Who under such
circumstances would not have taken it for a gigantic cetacean? Three
parts of this day I spent on the platform. I watched the sea.
Nothing on the horizon, till about four o'clock a steamer running west
on our counter. Her masts were visible for an instant, but she could
not see the Nautilus, being too low in the water. I fancied this
steamboat belonged to the P. O. Company, which runs from Ceylon to
Sydney, touching at King George's Point and Melbourne.
    At five o'clock in the evening, before that fleeting twilight
which binds night to day in tropical zones, Conseil and I were
astonished by a curious spectacle.
    It was a shoal of argonauts traveling along on the surface of
the ocean. We could count several hundreds. They belonged to the
tubercle kind which are peculiar to the Indian seas.
    These graceful mollusks moved backward by means of their
locomotive tube, through which they propelled the water already
drawn in. Of their eight tentacles, six were elongated, and
stretched out floating on the water, while the other two, rolled up
flat, were spread to the wind like a light sail. I saw their
spiral-shaped and fluted shells, which Cuvier justly compares to an
elegant skiff. A boat indeed! It bears the creature which secretes
it without its adhering to it.
    For nearly an hour the Nautilus floated in the midst of this shoal
of mollusks. Then I know not what sudden fright they took. But as if
at a signal every sail was furled, the arms folded, the body drawn in,
the shells turned over, changing their center of gravity, and the
whole fleet disappeared under the waves. Never did the ships of a
squadron maneuver with more unity.
    At that moment night fell suddenly, and the reeds, scarcely raised
by the breeze, lay peaceably under the sides of the Nautilus.
    The next day, January 26, we cut the equator at the
eighty-second meridian, and entered the northern hemisphere. During
the day, a formidable troop of sharks accompanied us, terrible
creatures, which multiply in these seas, and make them very dangerous.
They were "cestracio philippi" sharks, with brown backs and whitish
bellies, armed with eleven rows of teeth-eyed sharks- their throat
being marked with a large black spot surrounded with white like an
eye. There were also some Isabella sharks, with rounded snouts
marked with dark spots. These powerful creatures often hurled
themselves at the windows of the saloon with such violence as to
make us feel very insecure. At such times Ned Land was no longer
master of himself. He wanted to go to the surface and harpoon the
monsters, particularly certain smooth hound sharks, whose mouth is
studded with teeth like a mosaic; and large tiger sharks nearly six
yards long, the last named of which seemed to excite him more
particularly. But the Nautilus, accelerating her speed, easily left
the most rapid of them behind.
    On January 27, at the entrance of the vast Bay of Bengal, we met
repeatedly a forbidding spectacle, dead bodies floating on the surface
of the water. They were the dead of the Indian villages, carried by
the Ganges to the level of the sea, and which the vultures, the only
undertakers of the country, had not been able to devour. But the
sharks did not fail to help them at their funereal work.
    About seven o'clock in the evening, the Nautilus, half immersed,
was sailing in a sea of milk. At first sight the ocean seemed
lactified. Was it the effect of the lunar rays? No, for the moon,
scarcely two days old, was still lying hidden under the horizon in the
rays of the sun. The whole sky, though lit by the sidereal rays,
seemed black by contrast with the whiteness of the waters.
    Conseil could not believe his eyes, and questioned me as to the
cause of this strange phenomenon. Happily I was able to answer him.
    "It is called a milk sea," I explained, "a large extent of white
wavelets often to be seen on the coasts of Amboyna, and in these parts
of the sea."
    "But, Sir," said Conseil, "can you tell me what causes such an
effect? for I suppose the water is not really turned into milk."
    "No, my boy; and the whiteness which surprises you is caused
only by the presence of myriads of infusoria, a sort of luminous
little worm, gelatinous and without color, of the thickness of a hair,
and whose length is not more than the seven-thousandth of an inch.
These insects adhere to one another sometimes for several leagues."
    "Several leagues!" exclaimed Conseil.
    "Yes, my boy; and you need not try to compute the number of
these infusoria. You will not be able; for, if I am not mistaken,
ships have floated on these milk seas for more than forty miles."
    Toward midnight the sea suddenly resumed its usual color; but
behind us, even to the limits of the horizon, the sky reflected the
whitened waves, and for a long time seemed impregnated with the
vague glimmerings of an aurora borealis.
                           CHAPTER II.


    ON JANUARY 28, when at noon the Nautilus came to the surface of
the sea, in 9 degrees 4' north latitude, there was land in sight about
eight miles to westward. The first thing I noticed was a range of
mountains about two thousand feet high, the shapes of which were
most capricious. On taking the bearings, I knew that we were nearing
the Island of Ceylon, the pearl which hangs from the lobe of the
Indian Peninsula.
    Captain Nemo and his second appeared at this moment. The captain
glanced at the map. Then, turning to me, said:
    "The Island of Ceylon, noted for its pearl fisheries. Would you
like to visit one of them, M. Aronnax?"
    "Certainly, Captain."
    "Well, the thing is easy. Though if we see the fisheries, we shall
not see the fishermen. The annual exportation has not yet begun. Never
mind, I will give orders to make for the Gulf of Manaar, where we
shall arrive in the night."
    The captain said something to his second, who immediately went
out. Soon the Nautilus returned to her native element, and the
manometer showed that she was about thirty feet deep.
    "Well, Sir," said Captain Nemo, "you and your companions shall
visit the Bank of Manaar, and if by chance some fisherman should be
there, we shall see him at work."
    "Agreed, Captain! By the by, M. Aronnax, you are not afraid of
    "Sharks!" exclaimed I.
    This question seemed a very hard one.
    "Well?" continued Captain Nemo.
    "I admit, Captain, that I am not yet very familiar with that
kind of fish."
    "We are accustomed to them," replied Captain Nemo, "and in time
you will be too. However, we shall be armed, and on the road we may
be able to hunt some of the tribe It is interesting. So, till
tomorrow, Sir, and early."
    This said in a careless tone, Captain Nemo left the saloon. Now,
if you were invited to hunt the bear in the mountains of
Switzerland, what would you say? "Very well! tomorrow we will go and
hunt the bear." If you were asked to hunt the lion in the plains of
Atlas, or the tiger in the Indian jungles, what would you say? "Ha!
ha! it seems we are going to hunt the tiger or the lion!" But when
you are invited to hunt the shark in its natural element, you would
perhaps reflect before accepting the invitation. As for myself, I
passed my hand over my forehead, on which stood large drops of cold
perspiration. "Let us reflect," said I, "and take our time. Hunting
otters in submarine forests, as we did in the Island of Crespo, will
pass; but going up and down at the bottom of the sea, where one is
almost certain to meet sharks, is quite another thing! I know well
that in certain countries, particularly in the Andaman Islands, the
negroes never hesitate to attack them with a dagger in one hand and
a running noose in the other; but I also know that few who affront
those creatures ever return alive. However, I am not a negro, and,
if I were, I think a little hesitation in this case would not be
    At this moment, Conseil and the Canadian entered, quite
composed, and even joyous. They knew not what awaited them.
    "Faith, Sir," said Ned Land, "your Captain Nemo- the devil take
him!- has just made us a very pleasant offer."
    "Ah!" said I, "you know?"
    "If agreeable to you, Sir," interrupted Conseil, "the Commander of
the Nautilus has invited us to visit the magnificent Ceylon
fisheries tomorrow, in your company; he did it kindly, and behaved
like a real gentleman."
    "He said nothing more?"
    "Nothing more, except that he had already spoken to you of this
little walk."
    "Sir," said Conseil, "would you give us some details of the
pearl fishery?"
    "As to the fishing itself," I asked, "or the incidents, which?"
    "On the fishing," replied the Canadian; "before entering upon
the ground, it is as well to know something about it."
    "Very well; sit down, my friends, and I will teach you."
    Ned and Conseil seated themselves on an ottoman, and the first
thing the Canadian asked was,
    "Sir, what is a pearl?"
    "My worthy Ned," I answered, "to the poet, a pearl is a tear of
the sea; to the Orientals, it is a drop of dew solidified; to the
ladies, it is a jewel of an oblong shape, of a brilliancy of
mother-of-pearl substance, which they wear on their fingers, their
necks, or their ears; for the chemist, it is a mixture of phosphate
and carbonate of lime, with a little gelatine; and lastly, for
naturalists, it is simply a morbid secretion of the organ that
produces the mother-of-pearl among certain bivalves."
    "Branch of mollusca," said Conseil, "class of acephali, order of
    "Precisely so, my learned Conseil; and, among these testacea,
the ear shell, the tridacnae, the turbots, in a word, all those
which secrete mother-of-pearl, that is, the blue, bluish, violet, or
white substance which lines the interior of their shells, are
capable of producing pearls."
    "Mussels, too?" asked the Canadian.
    "Yes, mussels of certain waters in Scotland, Wales, Ireland,
Saxony, Bohemia, and France."
    "Good! For the future I shall pay attention," replied the
    "But," I continued, "the particular mollusk which secretes the
pearl is the pearl oyster, the meleagrina margaritifera, that precious
pintadine. The pearl is nothing but a nacreous formation, deposited in
a globular form, either adhering to the oyster shell, or buried in the
folds of the creature. On the shell it is fast; in the flesh it is
loose; but always has for a kernel a small hard substance, maybe a
barren egg, maybe a grain of sand, around which the pearly matter
deposits itself year after year successively, and by thin concentric
    "Are many pearls found in the same oyster?" asked Conseil.
    "Yes, my boy. There are some pintadines a perfect casket. One
oyster has been mentioned, though I allow myself to doubt it, as
having contained no less than a hundred fifty sharks."
    "A hundred fifty sharks!" exclaimed Ned Land.
    "Did I say sharks?" said I, hurriedly. "I meant to say a hundred
fifty pearls. Sharks would not be sense."
    "Certainly not," said Conseil; "but will you tell us now by what
means they extract these pearls?"
    "They proceed in various ways. When they adhere to the shell,
the fishermen often pull them off with pincers; but the most common
way is to lay the pintadines on mats of the seaweed which covers the
banks. Thus they die in the open air; and at the end of ten days
they are in a forward state of decomposition. They are then plunged
into large reservoirs of sea water; then they are opened and washed.
Now begins the double work of the sorters. First they separate the
layers of pearl, known in commerce by the name of artificial whites
and artificial blacks, which are delivered in boxes of two hundred
fifty and three hundred pounds each. Then they take the parenchyma
of the oyster, boil it, and pass it through a sieve in order to
extract the very smallest pearls."
    "The price of these pearls varies according to their size?"
asked Conseil.
    "Not only according to their size," I answered, "but also
according to their shape, their water (that is, their color), and
their luster; that is, that bright and diapered sparkle which makes
them so charming to the eye. The most beautiful are called virgin
pearls or paragons. They are formed alone in the tissue of the
mollusk, are white, often opaque, and sometimes have the
transparency of an opal; they are generally round or oval. The round
are made into bracelets, the oval into pendants; and, being more
precious, are sold singly. Those adhering to the shell of the oyster
are more irregular in shape, and are sold by weight. Lastly, in a
lower order, are classed those small pearls known under the name of
seed pearls; they are sold by measure, and are especially used in
embroidery for church ornaments."
    "But," said Conseil, "is this pearl fishing dangerous?"
    "No," I answered quickly; "particularly if certain precautions are
    "What does one risk in such a calling?" said Ned Land; the
swallowing of some mouthfuls of sea water?
    "As you say, Ned. By the by," said I, trying to take Captain
Nemo's careless tone, "are you afraid of sharks, brave Ned?"
     "I!" replied the Canadian; "a harpooner by profession? It is my
trade to make light of them."
    "But," said I, "it is not a question of fishing for him with an
iron swivel, hoisting them into the vessel, cutting off their tails
with a blow of a chopper, ripping them up, and throwing their heart
into the sea!"
    "Then, it is a question of"-
    "In the water?"
    "In the water."
    "Faith, with a good harpoon! You know, Sir, these sharks are
ill-fashioned beasts. They must turn on their bellies to seize you,
and in that time"-
    Ned Land had a way of saying "seize," which made my blood run
    "Well, and you, Conseil, what do you think of sharks?"
    "Me!" said Conseil. "I will be frank, Sir."
    "So much the better," thought I.
    "If you mean to face the sharks, I do not see why your faithful
servant should not face them with you."
                          CHAPTER III.

                    A PEARL OF TEN MILLIONS.

    THE next morning at four o'clock I was awakened by the steward,
whom Captain Nemo had placed at my service. I rose hurriedly, dressed,
and went into the saloon.
    Captain Nemo was awaiting me.
    "M. Aronnax," said he, "are you ready to start?"
    "I am ready."
    "Then, please to follow me."
    "And my companions, Captain?"
    "They have been told, and are waiting."
    "Are we not to put on our diver's suits?" I asked.
    "Not yet. I have not allowed the Nautilus to come too near this
coast, and we are some distance from the Manaar Bank; but the boat
is ready, and will take us to the exact point of disembarking, which
will save us a long way. It carries our diving apparatus, which we
will put on when we begin our submarine journey."
    Captain Nemo conducted me to the central staircase, which led on
to the platform. Ned and Conseil were ready there, delighted at the
idea of the "pleasure party" which was preparing. Five sailors from
the Nautilus, with their oars, waited in the boat, which had been made
fast against the side.
    The night was still dark. Layers of clouds covered the sky,
allowing but few stars to be seen. I looked on the side where the land
lay, and saw nothing but a dark line inclosing three parts of the
horizon, from southwest to northwest. The Nautilus, having returned
during the night up the western coast of Ceylon, was now west of the
bay, or rather gulf, formed by the mainland and the island of
Manaar. There, under the dark waters, stretched the pintadine bank, an
inexhaustible field of pearls, the length of which is more than twenty
    Captain Nemo, Ned Land, Conseil, and I, took our places in the
stern of the boat. The master went to the tiller; his four
companions leaned on their oars, the painter was cast off, and we
sheered off.
    The boat went toward the south; the oarsmen did not hurry. I
noticed that their strokes, strong in the water, only followed each
other every ten seconds, according to the method generally adopted
in the navy. While the craft was running by its own velocity, the
liquid drops struck the dark depths of the waves crisply like spats of
melted lead. A little billow, spreading wide, gave a slight roll to
the boat, and some samphire reeds flapped before it.
    We were silent. Of what was Captain Nemo thinking? Perhaps of
the land he was approaching, and which he found too near to him,
contrary to the Canadian's opinion, who thought it too far off. As
to Conseil, he was merely there from curiosity.
    About half after five, the first tints on the horizon showed the
upper line of coast more distinctly. Flat enough in the east, it
rose a little to the south. Five miles still lay between us, and it
was indistinct owing to the mist on the water. At six o'clock it
became suddenly daylight, with that rapidity peculiar to tropical
regions, which know neither dawn nor twilight. The solar rays
pierced the curtain of clouds, piled up on the eastern horizon, and
the radiant orb rose rapidly. I saw land distinctly, with a few
trees scattered here and there. The boat neared Manaar Island, which
was rounded to the south. Captain Nemo rose from his seat and
watched the sea.
    At a sign from him the anchor was dropped, but the chain
scarcely ran, for it was little more than a yard deep, and this spot
was one of the highest points of the bank of pintadines.
    "Here we are, M. Aronnax," said Captain Nemo. "You see that
inclosed bay? Here, in a month, will be assembled the numerous fishing
boats of the exporters, and these are the waters their divers will
ransack so boldly. Happily, this bay is well situated for that kind of
fishing. It is sheltered from the strongest winds; the sea is never
very rough here, which makes it favorable for the diver's work. We
will now put on our suits, and begin our walk."
    I did not answer, and while watching the suspected waves, began
with the help of the sailors to put on my heavy sea outfit. Captain
Nemo and my companions were also dressing. None of the Nautilus men
were to accompany us on this new excursion.
    Soon we were enveloped to the throat in India-rubber clothing, the
air apparatus fixed to our backs by braces. As to the Ruhmkorff
apparatus, there was no necessity for it. Before putting my head
into the copper cap, I had asked the question of the captain.
    "They would be useless," he replied. "We are going to no great
depth, and the solar rays will be enough to light our walk. Besides,
it would not be prudent to carry the electric light in these waters;
its brilliancy might attract some of the dangerous inhabitants of
the coast most inopportunely."
    As Captain Nemo pronounced these words, I turned to Conseil and
Ned Land. But my two friends had already incased their heads in the
metal cap, and they could neither hear nor answer.
    One last question remained to ask of Captain Nemo.
    "And our arms?" asked I; "our guns?"
    "Guns! what for? Do not mountaineers attack the bear with a dagger
in their hand, and is not steel surer than lead? Here is a strong
blade; put it in your belt, and we start."
    I looked at my companions; they were armed like us, and, more than
that, Ned Land was brandishing an enormous harpoon, which he had
placed in the boat before leaving the Nautilus.
    Then, following the captain's example, I allowed myself to be
dressed in the heavy copper helmet, and our reservoirs of air were
at once in activity. An instant after we were landed, one after the
other, in about two yards of water upon an even sand. Captain Nemo
made a sign with his hand, and we followed him by a gentle declivity
till we disappeared under the waves.
    Over our feet, like coveys of snipe in a bog, rose shoals of fish,
of the genus monoptera, which have no other fins but their tail. I
recognized the Javanese, a real serpent two and a half feet long, of a
livid color underneath, and which might easily be mistaken for a
conger eel if it was not for the golden stripes on its sides. In the
genus stromateus, whose bodies are very flat and oval, I saw some of
the most brilliant colors, carrying their dorsal fin like a scythe; an
excellent eating fish, which, dried and pickled, is known by the
name of Karawade; then some tranquebars, belonging to the genus
apsiphoroides, whose body is covered with a shell cuirass of eight
longitudinal plates.
    The heightening sun lit the mass of waters more and more. The soil
changed by degrees. To the fine sand succeeded a perfect causeway of
boulders, covered with a carpet of mollusks and zoophytes. Among the
specimens of these branches I noticed some placenae, with thin unequal
shells, a kind of ostracion peculiar to the Red Sea and the Indian
Ocean; some orange lucinae with rounded shells; rockfish three and a
half feet long, which raised themselves under the waves like hands
ready to seize one. There were also some panopyres, slightly luminous;
and lastly, some oculines, like magnificent fans, forming one of the
richest vegetations of these seas.
    In the midst of these living plants, and under the arbors of the
hydrophytes, were layers of clumsy articulates, particularly some
raninae, whose carapace formed a slightly rounded triangle; and some
horrible-looking parthenopes.
    At about seven o'clock we found ourselves at last surveying the
oyster banks, on which the pearl oysters are reproduced by millions.
    Captain Nemo pointed with his hand to the enormous heap of
oysters; and I could well understand that this mine was inexhaustible,
for Nature's creative power is far beyond man's instinct of
destruction. Ned Land, faithful to his instinct, hastened to fill a
net which he carried by his side with some of the finest specimens.
But we could not stop. We must follow the captain, who seemed to guide
himself by paths known only to himself. The ground was sensibly
rising, and sometimes, on holding up my arm, it was above the
surface of the sea. Then the level of the bank would sink
capriciously. Often we rounded high rocks scarped into pyramids. In
their dark fissures huge crustacea, perched upon their high claws like
some war machine, watched us with fixed eyes, and under our feet
crawled various kinds of annelides.
    At this moment there opened before us a large grotto, dug in a
picturesque heap of rocks, and carpeted with all the thick warp of the
submarine flora. At first it seemed very dark to me. The solar rays
seemed to be extinguished by successive gradations, until its vague
transparency became nothing more than drowned light. Captain Nemo
entered; we followed. My eyes soon accustomed themselves to this
relative state of darkness. I could distinguish the arches springing
capriciously from natural pillars, standing broad upon their granite
base, like the heavy columns of Tuscan architecture. Why had our
incomprehensible guide led us to the bottom of this submarine crypt? I
was soon to know. After descending a rather sharp declivity, our
feet trod the bottom of a kind of circular pit. There Captain Nemo
stopped, and with his hand indicated an object I had not yet
perceived. It was an oyster of extraordinary dimensions, a gigantic
tridacne, a goblet which could have contained a whole lake of holy
water, a basin the breadth of which was more than two yards and a
half, and consequently larger than that ornamenting the saloon of
the Nautilus. I approached this extraordinary mollusk. It adhered by
its byssus to a table of granite, and there, isolated, it developed
itself in the calm waters of the grotto. I estimated the weight of
this tridacne at 600 pounds. Such an oyster would contain thirty
pounds of meat; and one must have the stomach of a Gargantua, to
demolish some dozens of them.
    Captain Nemo was evidently acquainted with the existence of this
bivalve, and seemed to have a particular motive in verifying the
actual state of this tridacne. The shells were a little open; the
captain came near and put his dagger between to prevent them from
closing; then with his hand he raised the membrane with its fringed
edges, which formed a cloak for the creature. There, between the
folded plaits, I saw a loose pearl, whose size equalled that of a
coconut. Its globular shape, perfect clearness, and admirable luster
made it altogether a jewel of inestimable value. Carried away by my
curiosity I stretched out my hand to seize it, weigh it, and touch it;
but the captain stopped me, made a sign of refusal, and quickly
withdrew his dagger, and the two shells closed suddenly. I then
understood Captain Nemo's intention. In leaving this pearl hidden in
the mantle of the tridacne, he was allowing it to grow slowly. Each
year the secretions of the mollusk would add new concentric circles. I
estimated its value at over two million dollars at least.
    After ten minutes Captain Nemo stopped suddenly. I thought he
had halted previously to returning. No; by a gesture he bade us crouch
beside him in a deep fracture of the rock, his hand pointed to one
part of the liquid mass, which I watched attentively.
    About five yards from me a shadow appeared, and sank to the
ground. The disquieting idea of sharks shot through my mind, but I was
mistaken; and once again it was not a monster of the ocean that we had
anything to do with.
    It was a man, a living man, an Indian, a fisherman, a poor devil
who, I suppose, had come to glean before the harvest. I could see
the bottom of his canoe anchored some feet above his head. He dived
and went up successively. A stone held between his feet, cut in the
shape of a sugar loaf, while a rope fastened him to his boat, helped
him to descend more rapidly. This was all his apparatus. Reaching
the bottom about five yards deep, he went on his knees and filled
his bag with oysters picked up at random. Then he went up, emptied it,
pulled up his stone, and began the operation once more, which lasted
thirty seconds.
    The diver did not see us. The shadow of the rock hid us from
sight. And how should this poor Indian ever dream that men, beings
like himself, should be there under the water watching his
movements, and losing no detail of the fishing? Several times he
went up in this way, and dived again. He did not carry away more
than ten at each plunge, for he was obliged to pull them from the bank
to which they adhered by means of their strong byssus. And how many of
those oysters for which he risked his life had no pearl in them! I
watched him closely, his maneuvers were regular; and, for the space of
half an hour, no danger appeared to threaten him.
    I was beginning to accustom myself to the sight of this
interesting fishing, when suddenly, as the Indian was on the ground, I
saw him make a gesture of terror, rise, and make a spring to return to
the surface of the sea.
    I understood his dread. A gigantic shadow appeared just above
the unfortunate diver. It was a shark of enormous size advancing
diagonally, his eyes on fire, and his jaws open. I was mute with
horror, and unable to move.
    The voracious creature shot toward the Indian, who threw himself
on one side in order to avoid the shark's fins; but not its tail,
for it struck his chest, and stretched him on the ground.
    This scene lasted but a few seconds: the shark returned, and,
turning on his back, prepared himself for cutting the Indian in two,
when I saw Captain Nemo rise suddenly, and then, dagger in hand,
walk straight to the monster, ready to fight face to face with him.
The very moment the shark was going to snap the unhappy fisherman in
two, he perceived his new adversary, and turning over, made straight
toward him.
    I can still see Captain Nemo's position. Holding himself well
together, he waited for the shark with admirable coolness; and, when
it rushed at him, threw himself on one side with wonderful
quickness, avoiding the shock, and burying his dagger deep into its
side. But it was not all over. A terrible combat ensued.
    The shark had seemed to roar, if I might say so. The blood
rushed in torrents from its wound. The sea was dyed red, and through
the opaque liquid I could distinguish nothing more. Nothing more until
the moment when, like lightning, I saw the undaunted captain hanging
on to one of the creature's fins, struggling, as it were, hand to hand
With the monster, and dealing successive blows at his enemy, yet still
unable to give a decisive one.
    The shark's struggles agitated the water with such fury that the
rocking threatened to upset me.
    I wanted to go to the captain's assistance, but, nailed to the
spot with horror, I could not stir.
    I saw the haggard eye; I saw the different phases of the fight.
The captain fell to the earth, upset by the enormous mass which
leant upon him. The shark's jaws opened wide, like a pair of factory
shears, and it would have been an over with the captain; but, quick as
thought, harpoon in hand, Ned Land rushed toward the shark and
struck it with its sharp point.
    The waves were impregnated with a mass of blood. They rocked under
the shark's movements, which beat them with indescribable fury. Ned
Land had not missed his aim. It was the monster's death rattle. Struck
to the heart, it struggled in dreadful convulsions, the shock of which
overthrew Conseil.
    But Ned Land had disentangled the captain, who, getting up without
any wound, went straight to the Indian, quickly, cut the cord which
held him to his stone, took him in his arms, and, with a sharp blow of
his heel, mounted to the surface.
    We all three followed in a few seconds, saved by a miracle, and
reached the fisherman's boat.
    Captain Nemo's first care was to recall the unfortunate man to
life again. I did not think he could succeed. I hoped so, for the poor
creature's immersion was not long; but the blow from the shark's
tail might have been his deathblow.
    Happily, with the captain's and Conseil's sharp friction, I saw
consciousness return by degrees. He opened his eyes. What was his
surprise, his terror even, at seeing four great copper heads leaning
over him! And, above all, what must he have thought when Captain Nemo,
drawing from the pocket of his suit a bag of pearls, placed it in
his hand! This munificent charity from the man of the waters to the
poor Singhalese was accepted with a trembling hand. His wondering eyes
showed that he knew not to what superhuman beings he owed both fortune
and life.
    At a sign from the captain we regained the bank, and following the
road already traversed, came in about half an hour to the anchor which
held the canoe of the Nautilus to the earth.
    Once on board, we each, with the help of the sailors, got rid of
the heavy copper helmet.
    Captain Nemo's first word was to the Canadian.
    "Thank you, Master Land," said he.
    "It was in revenge, Captain," replied Ned Land. "I owed you that."
    A ghastly smile passed across the captain's lips, and that was
    "To the Nautilus," said he.
    The boat flew over the waves. Some minutes after, we met the
shark's dead body floating. By the black marking of the extremity of
its fins, I recognized the terrible melanopteron of the Indian Seas,
of the species of shark properly so called. It was more than
twenty-five feet long; its enormous mouth occupied one third of its
body. It was an adult, as was known by its six rows of teeth placed in
an isosceles triangle in the upper jaw.
    Conseil looked at it with scientific interest, and I am sure
that he placed it, and not without reason, in the cartilaginous class,
of the chondropterygian order, with fixed gills, of the selacian
family, in the genus of the sharks.
    While I was contemplating this inert mass, a dozen of these
voracious beasts appeared round the boat; and, without noticing us,
threw themselves upon the dead body and fought with one another for
the pieces.
    At half after eight we were again on board the Nautilus. There I
reflected on the incidents which had taken place in our excursion to
the Manaar Bank.
    Two conclusions I must inevitably draw from it- one bearing upon
the unparalleled courage of Captain Nemo, the other upon his
devotion to a human being, a representative of that race from which he
fled beneath the sea. Whatever he might say, this strange man had
not yet succeeded in entirely crushing his heart.
    When I made this observation to him, he answered in a slightly
moved tone:
    "That Indian, Sir, is an inhabitant of an oppressed country; and I
am still, and shall be, to my last breath, one of them!"
                           CHAPTER IV.

                          THE RED SEA.

    IN THE course of the day of January 29, the Island of Ceylon
disappeared under the horizon, and the Nautilus, at a speed of
twenty miles an hour, slid into the labyrinth of canals which separate
the Maldives from the Laccadives. It coasted even the Island of
Kiltan, a land originally madreporic, discovered by Vasco da Gama in
1499, and one of the nineteen principal islands of the Laccadive
Archipelago, situated between 10 degrees and 14 degrees 30' north
latitude, and 69 degrees 50' 72" east longitude.
    We had made 16,220 miles or 7,500 (French) leagues from our
starting point in the Japanese Seas.
    The next day (January 30), when the Nautilus went to the surface
of the ocean, there was no land in sight. Its course was N.N.E., in
the direction of the Sea of Oman, between Arabia and the Indian
Peninsula, which serves as an outlet to the Persian Gulf. It was
evidently a block without any possible egress. Where was Captain
Nemo taking us? I could not say. This, however, did not satisfy the
Canadian, who that day came to me asking where we were going
    "We are going where our captain's fancy takes us, Master Ned."
    "His fancy cannot take us far, then," said the Canadian. "The
Persian Gulf has no outlet; and if we do go in, it will not be long
before we are out again."
    "Very well, then, we will come out again, Master Ned; and if,
after the Persian Gulf, the Nautilus would like to visit the Red
Sea, the Straits of Bab-el-mandeb are there to give us entrance."
    "I need not tell you, sir," said Ned Land, "that the Red Sea is as
much closed as the Gulf, as the Isthmus of Suez is not yet cut; and if
it was, a boat as mysterious as ours would not risk itself in a
canal cut with sluices. And again, the Red Sea is not the road to take
us back to Europe."
    "But I never said we were going back to Europe."
    "What do you suppose, then?"
    "I suppose that, after visiting the curious coasts of Arabia and
Egypt, the Nautilus will go down the Indian Ocean again, perhaps cross
the Channel of Mozambique, perhaps off the Mascarenhas, so as to
gain the Cape of Good Hope."
    "And at the Cape of Good Hope?" asked the Canadian, with
peculiar emphasis.
    "Well, we shall penetrate into that Atlantic which we do not yet
know. Ah! friend Ned, you are getting tired of this journey under
the sea; you are surfeited with the incessantly varying spectacle of
submarine wonders. For my part, I shall be sorry to see the end of a
voyage which it is given to so few men to make."
    For four days, till February 3, the Nautilus scoured the Sea of
Oman, at various speeds and at various depths. It seemed to go at
random, as if hesitating as to which road it should follow, but we
never passed the tropic of Cancer.
    In quitting this sea we sighted Maskat for an instant, one of
the most important towns of the country of Oman. I admired its strange
aspect, surrounded by black rocks upon which its white houses and
forts stood in relief. I saw the rounded domes of its mosques, the
elegant points of its minarets, its fresh and verdant terraces. But it
was only a vision! the Nautilus soon sank under the waves of that part
of the sea.
    We passed along the Arabian coast of Mahrah and Hadramaut, for a
distance of six miles, its undulating line of mountains being
occasionally relieved by some ancient ruin. On February 5 we at last
entered the Gulf of Aden, a perfect funnel introduced into the neck of
Bab-el-mandeb, through which the Indian waters entered the Red Sea.
    On February 6, the Nautilus floated in sight of Aden, perched upon
a promontory which a narrow isthmus joins to the mainland, a kind of
inaccessible Gibraltar, the fortifications of which were rebuilt by
the English after taking possession in 1839. I caught a glimpse of the
octagon minarets of this town, which was at one time, according to the
historian Edrisi, the richest commercial magazine on the coast.
    I certainly thought that Captain Nemo, arrived. at this point,
would back out again; but I was mistaken, for he did no such thing,
much to my surprise.
    The next day, February 7, we entered the Straits of Bab-el-mandeb,
the name of which, in the Arab tongue, means "The gate of tears."
    To twenty miles in breadth, it is only thirty-two in length. And
for the Nautilus, starting at full speed, the crossing was scarcely
the work of an hour. But I saw nothing, not even the Island of
Perim, with which the British Government has fortified the position of
Aden. There were too many English or French steamers of the line of
Suez to Bombay, Calcutta to Melbourne, and from Bourbon to the
Mauritius, furrowing this narrow passage, for the Nautilus to
venture to show itself. So it remained prudently below. At last, about
noon, we were in the waters of the Red Sea.
    I would not even seek to understand the caprice which had
decided Captain Nemo upon entering the gulf. But I quite approved of
the Nautilus entering it. Its speed was lessened; sometimes it kept on
the surface, sometimes it dived to avoid a vessel, and thus I was able
to observe the upper and lower parts of this curious sea.
    On February 8, at the first dawn of day, Mocha came in sight,
now a ruined town, whose walls would fall at a gunshot, yet which
shelters here and there some verdant date trees; once an important
city, containing six public markets, and twenty-six mosques, and whose
walk, defended by fourteen forts, formed a girdle of two miles in
    The Nautilus then approached the African shore, where the depth of
the sea was greater. There, between two waters clear as crystal,
through the open panels we were allowed to contemplate the beautiful
bushes of brilliant coral, and large blocks of rock clothed with a
splendid fur of green algae and fuci. What an indescribable spectacle,
and what variety of sites and landscapes along these sand banks and
volcanic islands which bound the Libyan coast! But where these
shrubs appeared in all their beauty was on the eastern coast, which
the Nautilus soon gained. It was on the coast of Tehama, for there not
only did this display of zoophytes flourish beneath the level of the
sea, but they also formed picturesque interlacings which unfolded
themselves about sixty feet above the surface, more capricious but
less highly colored than those whose freshness was kept up by the
vital power of the waters.
    What charming hours I passed thus at the window of the saloon!
What new specimens of submarine flora and fauna did I admire under the
brightness of our electric lantern!
    There grew sponges of all shapes, pediculated, foliated, globular,
and digital. They certainly justified the names of baskets, cups,
distaffs, elk's horns, lion's feet, peacock's tails, and Neptune's
gloves, which have been given to them by the fishermen, greater
poets than the savants.
    Other zoophytes which multiply near the sponges consist
principally of medusae of a most elegant kind. The mollusks were
represented by varieties of the calmar (which, according to Orbigny,
are peculiar to the Red Sea); and reptiles by the virgata turtle, of
the genus of cheloniae, which furnished a wholesome and delicate
food for our table.
    As to the fish, they were abundant, and often remarkable. The
following are those which the nets of the Nautilus brought more
frequently on board:
    Rays of a red-brick color, with bodies marked with blue spots, and
easily recognizable by their double spikes; some superb caranxes,
marked with seven transverse bands of, jet-black, blue and yellow
fins, and gold and silver scales; mullets with yellow heads; gobies,
and a thousand other species, common to the ocean which we had just
    On February 9, the Nautilus floated in the broadest part of the
Red Sea, which is comprised between Suakin, on the west coast, and
Koomfidah, on the east coast, with a diameter of ninety miles.
    That day at noon, after the bearings were taken, Captain Nemo
mounted the platform, where I happened to be, and I was determined not
to let him go down again without at least pressing him regarding his
ulterior projects. As soon as he saw me he approached, and
graciously offered me a cigar.
    "Well, Sir, does this Red Sea please you? Have you sufficiently
observed the wonders it covers, its fishes, its zoophytes, its
parterres of sponges, and its forests of coral? Did you catch a
glimpse of the towns on its borders?"
    "Yes, Captain Nemo," I replied; "and the Nautilus is wonderfully
fitted for such a study. Ah! it is an intelligent boat!"
    "Yes, Sir, intelligent and invulnerable. It fears neither the
terrible tempests of the Red Sea, nor its currents, nor its sand
    "Certainly," said I, "this sea is quoted as one of the worst,
and in the time of the ancients, if I am not mistaken, its
reputation was detestable."
    "Detestable, M. Aronnax. The Greek and Latin historians do not
speak favorably of it, and Strabo says it is very dangerous during the
Etesian winds, and in the rainy season. The Arabian Edrisi portrays it
under the name of the Gulf of Colzoum, and relates that vessels
perished there in great numbers on the sand banks, and that no one
would risk sailing in the night. It is, he pretends, a sea subject
to fearful hurricanes, strewn with inhospitable islands, and 'which
offers nothing good either on its surface or in its depths.' Such,
too, is the opinion of Arrian, Agatharcides, and Artemidorus."
    "One may see," I replied, "that these historians never sailed on
board the Nautilus."
    "Just so," replied the captain, smiling; "and in that respect
moderns are not more advanced than the ancients. It required many ages
to find out the mechanical power of steam. Who knows if, in another
hundred years, we may not see a second Nautilus? Progress is slow,
M. Aronnax."
    "It is true," I answered; "your boat is at least a century
before its time, perhaps an era. What a misfortune that the secret
of such an invention should die with its inventor!"
    Captain Nemo did not reply. After some minutes' silence he
    "You were speaking of the opinions of ancient historians upon
the dangerous navigation of the Red Sea."
    "It is true," said I; "but were not their fears exaggerated?"
    "Yes and no, M. Aronnax," replied Captain Nemo, who seemed to know
the Red Sea by heart. "That which is no longer dangerous for a
modern vessel, well rigged, strongly built, and master of its own
course, thanks to obedient steam, offered all sorts of perils to the
ships of the ancients. Picture to yourself those first navigators
venturing in ships made of planks sewn with the cords of the palm
tree, saturated with the grease of the sea dog, and covered with
powdered resin They had not even instruments wherewith to take their
bearings, and they went by guess amongst currents of which they
scarcely knew anything. Under such conditions shipwrecks were, and
must have, been, numerous. But in our time, steamers running between
Suez and the South Seas have nothing more to fear from the fury of
this gulf, in spite of contrary trade winds. The captain and
passengers do not prepare for their departure by offering propitiatory
sacrifices: and, on their return, they no longer go ornamented with
wreaths and gilt fillets to thank the gods in the neighboring temple."
    "I agree with you," said I; "and steam seems to have killed all
gratitude in the hearts of sailors. But, Captain, since you seem to
have especially studied this sea, can you tell me the origin its
    "There exist several explanations on the subject, M. Aronnax.
Would you like to know the opinion of a chronicler of the fourteenth
    "This fanciful writer pretends that its name was given to it after
the passage of the Israelites, when Pharaoh perished in the waves
which closed at the voice of Moses."
    "A poet's explanation, Captain Nemo," I replied; "but I cannot
content myself with that. I ask you for your personal opinion."
    "Here it is, M. Aronnax. According to my idea, we must see in this
appellation of the Red Sea a translation of the Hebrew word 'Edom';
and if the ancients gave it that name, it was on account of the
particular color of its waters."
    "But up to this time I have seen nothing but transparent waves and
without any particular color."
    "Very likely; but as we advance to the bottom of the gulf, you
will see this singular appearance. I remember seeing the Bay of Tor
entirely red, like a sea of blood."
    "And you attribute this color to the presence of a microscopic
    "Yes; it is a mucilaginous purple matter, produced by the restless
little plants known by the name of trichodesmia, and of which it
requires 40,000 to occupy the space of a square .04 of an inch.
Perhaps we shall meet some when we get to Tor."
    "So, Captain Nemo, it is not the first time you have overrun the
Red Sea on board the Nautilus?"
    "No, Sir."
    "As you spoke a while ago of the passage of the Israelites, and of
the catastrophe to the Egyptians, I will ask whether you have met with
traces under the water of this great historical fact?"
    "No, Sir; and for a very good reason."
    "What is it?"
    "It is, that the spot where Moses and his people passed is now
so blocked up with sand, that the camels can barely bathe their legs
there. You can well understand that there would not be water enough
for my Nautilus."
    "And the spot?" I asked.
    "The spot is situated a little above the Isthmus of Suez, in the
arm which formerly made a deep estuary, when the Red Sea extended to
the Salt Lakes. Now, whether this passage were miraculous or not,
the Israelites, nevertheless, crossed there to reach the Promised
Land, and Pharaoh's army perished precisely on that spot and I think
that excavations made in the middle of the sand would bring to light a
large number of arms and instruments of Egyptian origin."
    "That is evident," I replied; "and for the sake of
archaeologists let us hope that these excavations will be made
sooner or later, when new towns are established on the isthmus,
after the construction of the Suez Canal; a canal, however, very
useless to a vessel like the Nautilus."
    "Very likely; but useful to the whole world," said Captain Nemo.
"The ancients well understood the utility of a communication between
the Red Sea and the Mediterranean for their commercial affairs: but
they did not think of digging a canal direct, and took the Nile as
an intermediate. Very probably the canal which united the Nile to
the Red Sea was begun by Sesostris, if we may believe tradition.
One thing is certain, that in the year 615 before Jesus Christ,
Necos undertook the works of an alimentary canal to the waters of
the Nile, across the plain of Egypt, looking toward Arabia, It took
four days to go up this canal, and it was so wide that two triremes
could go abreast. It was carried on by Darius, the son of Hystaspes,
and probably finished by Ptolemy II. Strabo saw it navigated; but
its decline from the point of departure, near Bubastes, to the Red Sea
was so slight, that it was only navigable for a few months in the
year. This canal answered all commercial purposes to the age of
Antoninus, when it was abandoned and blocked up with sand. Restored by
order of the Caliph Omar, it was definitively destroyed in 761 or
762 by Caliph Al-Mansor, who wished to prevent the arrival of
provisions to Mohammed-ben-Abdallah, who had revolted against him.
During the expedition into Egypt, your General Bonaparte discovered
traces of the works in the Desert of Suez; and surprised by the
tide, he nearly perished before regaining Hadjaroth, at the very place
where Moses had encamped three thousand years before him."
    "Well, Captain, what the ancients dared not undertake, this
junction between the two seas, which will shorten the road from
Cadiz to India, M. de Lesseps has succeeded in doing; and before
long he will have changed Africa into an immense island."
    "Yes, M. Aronnax; you have the right to be proud of your
countryman. Such a man brings more honor to a nation than great
captains. He began, like so many others, with disgust and rebuffs; but
he has triumphed, for he has the genius of will. And it is sad to
think that a work like that, which ought to have been an international
work, and which would have sufficed to make a reign illustrious,
should have succeeded by the energy of one man. All honor to M. de
    "Yes, honor to the great citizen!" I replied, surprised by the
manner in which Captain Nemo had just spoken.
    "Unfortunately," he continued, "I cannot take you through the Suez
Canal; but you will be able to see the long jetty of Port Said after
tomorrow, when we shall be in the Mediterranean."
    "The Mediterranean!" I exclaimed.
    "Yes, Sir; does that astonish you?"
    "What astonishes me is to think that we shall be there the day
after tomorrow."
    "Yes, Captain, although by this time I ought to have accustomed
myself to be surprised at nothing since I have been on board your
    "But the cause of this surprise?"
    "Well I it is the fearful speed you will have to put on the
Nautilus, if the day after tomorrow she is to be in the Mediterranean,
having made the round of Africa, and doubled the Cape of Good Hope!"
    "Who told you that she would make the round of Africa, and
double the Cape of Good Hope, Sir?"
    "Well, unless the Nautilus sails on dry land, and passes above the
    "Or beneath it, M. Aronnax."
    "Beneath it?"
    "Certainly," replied Captain Nemo, quietly. "A long time ago
Nature made under this tongue of land what man has this day made on
its surface."
    "What! such a passage exists?"
    "Yes; a subterranean passage, which I have named the Arabian
Tunnel. It takes us beneath Suez, and opens into the Gulf of
    "But this isthmus is composed of nothing but quicksands?"
    "To a certain depth. But at fifty-five yards only, there is a
solid layer of rock."
    "Did you discover this passage by chance?" I asked, more and
more surprised.
    "Chance and reasoning, Sir; and by reasoning even more than by
chance. Not only does this passage exist, but I have profited by it
several times. Without that I should not have ventured this day into
the impassable Red Sea. I noticed that in the Red Sea and in the
Mediterranean there existed a certain number of fishes of a kind
perfectly identical- ophidia, fiatoles, girelles, and exocoeti.
Certain of that fact, I asked myself was it possible that there was no
communication between the two seas? If there was, the subterranean
current must necessarily run from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean,
from the sole cause of difference of level. I caught a large number of
fishes in the neighborhood of Suez. I passed a copper ring through
their tails, and threw them back into the sea. Some months later, on
the coast of Syria, I caught some of my fish ornamented with the ring.
Thus the communication between the two was proved. I then sought for
it with my Nautilus; I discovered it, ventured into it, and before
long, Sir, you too will have passed through my Arabian tunnel!"
                           CHAPTER V.

                       THE ARABIAN TUNNEL.

    THAT same evening, in 21 degrees 30' north latitude, the
Nautilus floated on the surface of the sea, approaching the Arabian
coast. I saw Djeddah, the most important countinghouse of Egypt,
Syria, Turkey, and India. I distinguished clearly enough its
buildings, the vessels anchored at the quays, and those whose
draught of water obliged them to anchor in the roads. The sun,
rather low on the horizon, struck full on the houses of the town,
bringing out their whiteness. Outside, some wooden cabins, and some
made of reeds, showed the quarter inhabited by the Bedouins. Soon
Djeddah was shut out from view by the shadows of night, and the
Nautilus found herself under water slightly phosphorescent.
    The next day, February 10, we sighted several ships running to
windward. The Nautilus returned to its submarine navigation; but at
noon, when her bearings were taken, the sea being deserted, she rose
again to her water line.
    Accompanied by Ned and Conseil, I seated myself on the platform.
The coast on the eastern side looked like a mass faintly printed
upon a damp fog.
    We were leaning on the sides of the pinnace, talking of one
thing and another, when Ned Land, stretching out his hand toward a
spot on the sea, said:
    "Do you see anything there?"
    "No, Ned," I replied; "but I have not your eyes, you know."
    "Look well," said Ned,"there, on the starboard beam, about the
height of the lantern! Do you not see a man which seems to move?"
    "Certainly," said I, after close attention; "I see something
like a long black body on the top of the water."
    And certainly before long the black object was not more than a
mile from us. It looked like a great sand bank deposited in the open
sea. It was a gigantic dugong!
    Ned Land looked eagerly. His eyes shone with covetousness at the
sight of the animal. His hand seemed ready to harpoon it. One would
have thought he was awaiting the moment to throw himself into the sea,
and attack it in its element.
    At this instant Captain Nemo appeared on the platform. He saw
the dugong, understood the Canadian's attitude, and addressing him,
    "If you held a harpoon in your hand just now, Master Land, would
it not burn your hand?"
    "Just so, Sir."
    "And you would not be sorry to go back, for one day, to your trade
of a fisherman, and add this cetacean to the list of those you have
already killed?"
    "I should not, Sir."
    "Well you can try."
    "Thank you, Sir," said Ned Land, his eyes flaming.
    "Only," continued the captain, "I advise you for your own sake not
to miss the creature."
    "Is the dugong dangerous to attack?" I asked, in spite of the
Canadian's shrug of the shoulders.
    "Yes," replied the captain; "sometimes the animal turns upon its
assailants and overturns their boat. But for Master Land, this
danger is not to be feared. His eye is prompt, his arm sure."
    At this moment seven men of the crew, mute and immovable as
ever, mounted the platform. One carried a harpoon and a line similar
to those employed in catching whales. The pinnace was lifted from
the bridge, pulled from its socket, and let down into the sea. Six
oarsmen took their seats, and the coxswain went to the tiller. Ned,
Conseil, and I went to the back of the boat.
    "You are not coming, Captain?" I asked.
    "No, Sir; but I wish you good sport."
    The boat put off, and lifted by the six rowers, drew rapidly
toward the dugong, which floated about two miles from the Nautilus.
    Arrived some cables' length from the cetacean, the speed
slackened, and the oars dipped noiselessly into the quiet waters.
Ned Land, harpoon in hand, stood in the fore part of the boat. The
harpoon used for striking the whale is generally attached to a very
long cord, which runs out rapidly as the wounded creature draws it
after him. But here the cord was not more than ten fathoms long, and
the extremity was attached to a small barrel, which, by floating,
was to show the course the dugong took under the water.
    I stood, and carefully watched the Canadian's adversary. This
dugong, which also bears the name of the halicore, closely resembles
the manatee; its oblong body terminated in a lengthened tail, and
its lateral fins in perfect fingers. Its difference from the manatee
consisted in its upper jaw, which was armed with two long and
pointed teeth, which formed on each side diverging tusks.
    This dugong, which Ned Land was preparing to attack, was of
colossal dimensions; it was more than seven yards long. It did not
move, and seemed to be sleeping on the waves, which circumstance
made it easier to capture.
    The boat approached within six yards of the animal. The oars
rested on the rowlocks. I half rose. Ned Land, his body thrown a
little back, brandished the harpoon in his experienced hand.
    Suddenly a hissing noise was heard, and the dugong disappeared.
The harpoon, although thrown with great force, had apparently only
struck the water.
    "Curse it!" exclaimed the Canadian, furiously; "I have missed it!"
    "No," said I; "the creature is wounded- look at the blood; but
your weapon has not stuck in his body."
    "My harpoon! my harpoon!" cried Ned Land.
    The sailors rowed on, and the coxswain made for the floating
barrel. The harpoon regained, we followed in pursuit of the animal.
    The latter came now and then to the surface to breathe. Its
wound had not weakened it, for it shot onward with great rapidity.
    The boat, rowed by strong arms, flew on its track. Several times
it approached within some few yards, and the Canadian was ready to
strike, but the dugong made off with a sudden plunge, and it was
impossible to reach it.
    Imagine the passion which excited impatient Ned Land! He hurled at
the unfortunate creature the most energetic expletives in the
English tongue. For my part, I was only vexed to see the dugong escape
all our attacks.
    We pursued it without relaxation for an hour, and I began to think
it would prove difficult to capture, when the animal, possessed with
the perverse idea of vengeance, of which he had cause to repent,
turned upon the pinnace and assailed us in turn.
    This maneuver did not escape the Canadian.
    "Look out!" he cried.
    The coxswain said some words in his outlandish tongue, doubtless
warning the men to keep on their guard.
    The dugong came within twenty feet of the boat, stopped, sniffed
the air briskly with its large nostrils (not pierced at the extremity,
but in the upper part of its muzzle). Then taking a spring he threw
himself upon us.
    The pinnace could not avoid the shock, and half upset, shipped
at least two tons of water, which had to be emptied; but thanks to the
coxswain, we caught it sideways, not full front, so we were not
quite overturned. While Ned Land, clinging to the bows, belabored
the gigantic animal with blows from his harpoon, the creature's
teeth were buried in the gunwale, and it lifted the whole thing out of
the water, as a lion does a roebuck. We were upset over one another,
and I know not how the adventure would have ended, if the Canadian,
still enraged with the beast, had not struck it to the heart.
    I heard its teeth grind on the iron plate, and the dugong
disappeared, carrying the harpoon with him. But the barrel soon
returned to the surface, and shortly after the body of the animal,
turned on its back. The boat came up with it, took it in tow, and made
straight for the Nautilus.
    It required tackle of enormous strength to hoist the dugong on
to the platform. It weighed 10,000 lbs.
    The next day, February 11, the larder of the Nautilus was enriched
by some more delicate game. A flight of sea swallows rested on the
Nautilus. It was a species of the Sterna nilotica, peculiar to
Egypt; its beak is black, head gray and pointed, the eye surrounded by
white spots, the back, wings, and tail of a grayish color, the belly
and throat white, and claws red. They also took some dozen of Nile
ducks, a wild bird of high flavor, its throat and upper part of the
head white with black spots.
    About five o'clock in the evening we sighted to the north the Cape
of Ras-Mohammed. This cape forms the extremity of Arabia Petraea,
comprised between the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Acabah.
    The Nautilus penetrated into the Straits of Jubal, which leads
to the Gulf of Suez. I distinctly saw a high mountain, towering
between the two gulfs of Ras-Mohammed. It was Mount Horeb, that
Sinai at the top of which Moses saw God face to face.
    At six o'clock the Nautilus, sometimes floating, sometimes
immersed, passed some distance from Tor, situated at the end of the
bay, the waters of which seemed tinted with red, an observation
already made by Captain Nemo. Then night fell in the midst of a
heavy silence, sometimes broken by the cries of the pelican, and other
night birds, and the noise of the waves breaking upon the shore,
chafing against the rocks, or the panting of some far-off steamer
beating the waters of the Gulf with its noisy paddles.
    From eight to nine o'clock the Nautilus remained some fathoms
under the water. According to my calculation we must have been very
near Suez. Through the panel of the saloon I saw the bottom of the
rocks brilliantly lit up by our electric lamp. We seemed to be leaving
the Straits behind us more and more.
    At a quarter after nine, the vessel having returned to the
surface, I mounted the platform. Most impatient to pass through
Captain Nemo's tunnel, I could not stay in one place, so came to
breathe the fresh night air.
    Soon in the shadow I saw a pale light, half discolored by the fog,
shining about a mile from us.
    "A floating lighthouse!" said someone near me.
    I turned, and saw the captain.
    "It is the floating light of Suez," he continued. "It will not
be long before we gain the entrance to the tunnel."
    "The entrance cannot be easy?"
    "No, Sir; and for that reason I am accustomed to go into the
steersman's cage, and myself direct our course. And now if you will go
down, M. Aronnax, the Nautilus is going under the waves, and will
not return to the surface until we have passed through the Arabian
    Captain Nemo led me toward the central staircase; halfway down
he opened a door, traversed the upper deck, and landed in the
pilot's cage, which it may be remembered rose at the extremity of
the platform. It was a cabin measuring six feet square, very much like
that occupied by the pilot on the steamboats of the Mississippi or
Hudson. In the midst worked a wheel, placed vertically, and caught
to the tiller rope, which ran to the back of the Nautilus. Four
light ports with lenticular glasses, let in a groove in the
partition of the cabin, allowed the man at the wheel to see in all
    This cabin was dark; but soon my eyes accustomed themselves to the
obscurity, and I perceived the pilot, a strong man, with his hands
resting on the spokes of the wheel. Outside, the sea appeared
vividly lit up by the lantern, which shed its rays from the back of
the cabin to the other extremity of the platform.
    "Now," said Captain Nemo, "let us try to make our passage."
    Electric wires connected the pilot's cage with the machinery room,
and from there the captain could communicate simultaneously to his
Nautilus the direction and the speed. He pressed a metal knob, and
at once the speed of the screw diminished.
    I looked in silence at the high straight wall we were running by
at this moment, the immovable base of a massive sandy coast. We
followed it thus for an hour only some few yards off.
    Captain Nemo did not take his eye from the knob, suspended by
its two concentric circles in the cabin. At a simple gesture, the
pilot modified the course of the Nautilus every instant.
    I had placed myself at the port-scuttle, and saw some
magnificent substructures of coral, zoophytes, seaweed, and fucus,
agitating their enormous claws, which stretched out from the
fissures of the rock.
    At a quarter past ten, the captain himself took the helm. A
large gallery, black and deep, opened before us. The Nautilus went
boldly into it. A strange roaring was heard round its sides. It was
the waters of the Red Sea, which the incline of the tunnel
precipitated violently toward the Mediterranean. The Nautilus went
with the torrent, rapid as an arrow, in spite of the efforts of the
machinery, which, in order to offer more effective resistance, beat
the waves with reversed screw.
    On the walls of the narrow passage I could see nothing but
brilliant rays, straight lines, furrows of fire, traced by the great
speed, under the brilliant electric light. My heart beat fast.
    At thirty-five minutes past ten, Captain Nemo quitted the helm;
and, turning to me, said:
    "The Mediterranean!"
    In less than twenty minutes, the Nautilus, carried along by the
torrent, had passed through the Isthmus of Suez.
                           CHAPTER VI.

                    THE GRECIAN ARCHIPELAGO.

    THE next day, February 12, at the dawn of day, the Nautilus rose
to the surface. I hastened on to the platform. Three miles to the
south the dim outline of Pelusium was to be seen. A torrent had
carried us from one sea to the other. About seven o'clock Ned and
Conseil joined me.
    "Well, Sir Naturalist," said the Canadian, in a slightly jovial
tone, "and the Mediterranean?"
    "We are floating on its surface, friend Ned."
    "What!" said Conseil, "this very night?"
    "Yes, this very night; in a few minutes we have passed this
impassable isthmus."
    "I do not believe it," replied the Canadian.
    "Then you are wrong, Master Land," I continued; "this low coast
which rounds off to the south is the Egyptian coast. And you, who have
such good eyes, Ned, you can see the jetty of Port Said stretching
into the sea."
    The Canadian looked attentively.
    "Certainly you are right, Sir, and your captain is a first-rate
man. We are in the Mediterranean. Good! Now, if you please, let us
talk of our own little affair, but so that no one hears us."
    I saw what the Canadian wanted, and, in any case, I thought it
better to let him talk, as he wished it; so we all three went and
sat down near the lantern, where we were less exposed to the spray
of the blades.
    "Now, Ned, we listen; what have you to tell us?"
    "What I have to tell you is very simple. We are in Europe; and
before Captain Nemo's caprices drag us once more to the bottom of
the polar seas, or lead us into Oceania, I ask to leave the Nautilus."
    I wished in no way to shackle the liberty of my companions, but
I certainly felt no desire to leave Captain Nemo.
    Thanks to him, and thanks to his apparatus, I was each day
nearer the completion of my submarine studies; and I was rewriting
my book of submarine depths in its very element. Should I ever again
have such an opportunity of observing the wonders of the ocean? No,
certainly not! And I could not bring myself to the idea of
abandoning the Nautilus before the cycle of investigation was
    "Friend Ned, answer me frankly, are you tired of being on board?
Are you sorry that destiny has thrown us into Captain Nemo's hands?"
    The Canadian remained some moments without answering. Then
crossing his arms, he said:
    "Frankly, I do not regret this journey under the seas. I shall
be glad to have made it; but now that it is made, let us have done
with it. That is my idea."
    "It will come to an end, Ned."
    "Where and when?"
    "Where I do not know- when I cannot say; or rather, I suppose it
will end when these seas have nothing more to teach us."
    "Then what do you hope for?" demanded the Canadian.
    "That circumstances may occur as well six months hence as now by
which we may and ought to profit."
    "Oh!" said Ned Land, "and where shall we be in six months, if
you please, Sir Naturalist?"
    "Perhaps in China; you know the Nautilus is a rapid traveler. It
goes through water as swallows through the air, or as an express on
the land. It does not fear frequented seas; who can say that it may
not beat the coasts of France, England, or America, on which flight
may be attempted as advantageously as here."
    "M. Aronnax," replied the Canadian, "your arguments are rotten
at the foundation. You speak in the future, 'We shall be there! we
shall be here!' I speak in the present, 'We are here, and we must
profit by it.'"
    Ned Land's logic pressed me hard, and I felt myself beaten on that
ground. I knew not what argument would now tell in my favor.
    "Sir," continued Ned, "let us suppose an impossibility; if Captain
Nemo should this day offer you your liberty, would you accept it?"
    "I do not know," I answered.
    "And if," he added, "the offer he made you this day was never to
be renewed, would you accept it?"
    "Friend Ned, this is my answer. Your reasoning is against me. We
must not rely on Captain Nemo's good will. Common prudence forbids him
to set us at liberty. On the other side, prudence bids us profit by
the first opportunity to leave the Nautilus."
    "Well, M. Aronnax, that is wisely said."
    "Only one observation- just one. The occasion must be serious, and
our first attempt must succeed; if it fails, we shall never find
another, and Captain Nemo will never forgive us."
    "All that is true," replied the Canadian. "But your observation
applies equally to all attempts at flight, whether in two years' time,
or in two days. But the question is still this: If a favorable
opportunity presents itself, it must be seized."
    "Agreed! and now, Ned, will you tell me what you mean by a
favorable opportunity?"
    "It will be that which, on a dark night, will bring the Nautilus a
short distance from some European coast."
    "And you will try and save yourself by swimming?"
    "Yes, if we were near enough to the bank, and if the vessel was
floating at the time. Not if the bank was far away, and the boat was
under the water."
    "And in that case?"
    "In that case, I should seek to make myself master of the pinnace.
I know how it is worked. We must get inside, and the bolts once drawn,
we shall come to the surface of the water, without even the pilot, who
is in the bows, perceiving our flight."
    "Well Ned, watch for the opportunity; but do not forget that a
hitch will ruin us."
    "I will not forget."
    "And now, Ned, would you like to know what I think of your
    "Certainly, M. Aronnax."
    "Well, I think, I do not say I hope, I think that this favorable
opportunity will never present itself."
    "Why not?"
    "Because Captain Nemo cannot hide from himself that we have not
given up all hope of regaining our liberty, and he will be on his
guard, above all, in the seas, and in the sight of European coasts."
    "We shall see," replied Ned Land, shaking his head determinedly.
    "And now, Ned Land," I added, "let us stop here. Not another
word on the subject. The day that you are ready, come and let us know,
and we will follow you. I rely entirely upon you."
    Thus ended a conversation which, at no very distant time, led to
such grave results. I must say here that facts seemed to confirm my
foresight, to the Canadian's great despair. Did Captain Nemo
distrust us in these frequented seas? or did he only wish to hide
himself from the numerous vessels, of all nations, which plowed the
Mediterranean? I could not tell; but we were oftener between waters,
and far from the coast. Or, if the Nautilus did emerge, nothing was to
be seen but the pilot's cage; and sometimes it went to great depths,
for, between the Grecian Archipelago and Asia Minor, we could not
touch the bottom by more than a thousand fathoms.
    Thus I only knew we were near the Island of Carpathos, one of
the Sporades, by Captain Nemo reciting these lines from Virgil-

         "Est in Carpathio Neptuni gurgite vates,
          Caeruleus Proteus,"

as he pointed to a spot on the planisphere.
    It was indeed the ancient abode of Proteus, the old shepherd of
Neptune's flocks, now the Island of Scarpanto, situated between Rhodes
and Crete. I saw nothing but the granite base through the glass panels
of the saloon.
    The next day, February 14, I resolved to employ some hours in
studying the fishes of the Archipelago; but for some reason or
other, the panels remained hermetically sealed. Upon taking the course
of the Nautilus I found that we were going toward Candia, the
ancient Isle Crete. At the time I embarked on the Abraham Lincoln, the
whole of this island had risen in insurrection against the despotism
of the Turks. But how the insurgents had fared since that time I was
absolutely ignorant, and it was not Captain Nemo, deprived of all land
communications, who could tell me.
    I made no allusion to this event when that night I found myself
alone with him in the saloon. Besides, he seemed to be taciturn and
preoccupied. Then, contrary to his custom, he ordered both panels to
be opened, and going from one to the other, observed the mass of
waters attentively. To what end I could not guess; so, on my side, I
employed my time in studying the fish passing before my eyes.
    Among others, I remarked some gobies, mentioned by Aristotle,
and commonly known by the name of sea braches, which are more
particularly met with in the salt waters lying near the delta of the
Nile. Near them rolled some sea bream, half phosphorescent, a kind
of sparus, which the Egyptians ranked amongst their sacred animals,
whose arrival in the waters of their river announced a fertile
overflow, and was celebrated by religious ceremonies. I also noticed
some cheilines about nine inches long, a bony fish with transparent
shell, whose livid, color is mixed with red spots; they are great
eaters of marine vegetation, which gives them an exquisite flavor.
These cheilines were much sought after by the epicures of ancient
Rome; the inside, dressed with the soft roe of the lamprey,
peacocks' brains, and tongues of the phenicoptera, composed that
divine dish of which Vitellius was so enamored.
    Another inhabitant of these seas drew my attention, and led my
mind back to recollections of antiquity. It was the remora, that
fastens on to the shark's belly. This little fish, according to the
ancients, hooking on to the ship's bottom, could stop its movements;
and one of them, by keeping back Antony's ship during the battle of
Actium, helped Augustus to gain the victory. On how little hangs the
destiny of nations! I observed some fine anthiae, which belong to
the order of lutjans, a fish held sacred by the Greeks, who attributed
to them the power of hunting the marine monsters from waters they
frequented. Their name signifies flower, and they justify their
appellation by their shaded colors, their shades comprising the
whole gamut of reds, from the paleness of the rose to the brightness
of the ruby, and the fugitive tints that clouded their dorsal fin.
My eyes could not leave these wonders of the sea, when they were
suddenly struck an unexpected apparition.
    In the midst of the waters a man appeared, a diver, carrying at
his belt a leather purse. It was not a body abandoned to the waves; it
was a living man, swimming with a strong hand, disappearing
occasionally to take breath at the surface.
    I turned toward Captain Nemo, and in an agitated voice exclaimed:
    "A man shipwrecked! He must be saved at any price!"
    The captain did not answer me, but came and leaned against the
    The man had approached, and with his face flattened against the
glass, was looking at us.
    To my great amazement, Captain Nemo signed to him. The diver
answered with his hand, mounted immediately to the surface of the
water, and did not appear again.
    "Do not be uncomfortable," said Captain Nemo. "It is Nicholas of
Cape Matapan, surnamed Pesca. He is well known in all the Cyclades.
A bold diver! water is his element, and he lives more in it than on
land, going continually from one island to another, even as far as
    "You know him, Captain?"
    "Why not, M. Aronnax?"
    Saying which, Captain Nemo went toward a piece of furniture
standing near the left panel of the saloon. Near this piece of
furniture, I saw a chest bound with iron, on the cover of which was
a copper plate, bearing the insignia of the Nautilus with its device.
    At that moment, the captain, without noticing my presence,
opened the piece of furniture, a sort of strong box, which held a
great many ingots.
    They were ingots of gold. From whence came this precious metal,
which represented an enormous sum? Where did the captain gather this
gold from? and what was he going to do with it?
    I did not say one word. I looked. Captain Nemo took the ingots one
by one, and arranged them methodically in the chest, which he filled
entirely. I estimated the contents at more than four thousand pounds
weight of gold, that is to say, near one million dollars.
    The chest was securely fastened, and the captain wrote an
address on the lid, in characters which must have belonged to modern
    This done, Captain Nemo pressed a knob, the wire of which
communicated with the quarters of the crew. Four men appeared, and,
not without some trouble, pushed the chest out of the saloon. Then I
heard them hoisting it up the iron staircase by means of pulleys.
    At that moment, Captain Nemo turned to me.
    "And you were saying, Sir?" said he.
    "I was saying nothing, Captain."
    "Then, if you will allow me, I will wish you good night."
    Whereupon he turned and left the saloon.
    I returned to my room much troubled, as one may believe. I
vainly tried to sleep- I sought the connecting link between the
apparition of the diver and the chest filled with gold. Soon, I
felt, by certain movements of pitching and tossing, that the
Nautilus was leaving the depths and returning to the surface.
    Then I heard steps upon the platform; and I knew they were
unfastening the pinnace, and launching it upon the waves. For one
instant it struck the side of the Nautilus, then all noise ceased.
    Two hours after, the same noise, the same going and coming was
renewed; the boat was hoisted on board, replaced in its socket, and
the Nautilus again plunged under the waves.
    So these millions had been transported to their address. To what
point of the Continent? Who was Captain Nemo's correspondent?
    The next day, I related to Conseil and the Canadian the events
of the night, which had excited my curiosity to the highest degree. My
companions were not less surprised than myself.
    "But where does he take his millions to?" asked Ned Land.
    To that there was no possible answer. I returned to the saloon
after having breakfast, and set to work. Till five o'clock in the
evening, I employed myself in arranging my notes. At that moment-
ought I to attribute it to some peculiar idiosyncrasy- I felt so great
a heat that I was obliged to take off my coat of byssus! It was
strange, for we were not under low latitudes; and even then, the
Nautilus, submerged as it was, ought to experience no change of
temperature. I looked at the manometer; it showed a depth of sixty
feet, to which atmospheric heat could never attain.
    I continued my work, but the temperature rose to such a pitch as
to be intolerable.
    "Could there be fire on board?" I asked myself.
    I was leaving the saloon, when Captain Nemo entered; he approached
the thermometer, consulted it, and turning to me, said:
    "Forty-two degrees."
    "I have noticed it, Captain," I replied; "and if it gets much
hotter we cannot bear it."
    "Oh! it will not get hotter if we do not wish it."
    "You can reduce it as you please, then?"
    "No; but I can go farther from the stove which produces it."
    "It is outward then!"
    "Certainly; we are floating in a current of boiling water."
    "Is it possible!" I exclaimed.
    The panels opened, and I saw the sea entirely white all round. A
sulphurous smoke was curling amid the waves, which boiled like water
in a copper. I placed my hand on one of the panes of glass, but the
heat was so great that I quickly took it off again.
    "Where are we?" I asked.
    "Near the island of Santorin, sir," replied the captain, "and just
in the canal which separates Nea Kamenni from Pali Kamenni. I wished
to give you a sight of the curious spectacle of a submarine eruption."
    "I thought," said I, "that the formation of these new islands
was ended."
    "Nothing is ever ended in the volcanic parts of the sea,"
replied Captain Nemo; "and the globe is always being worked by
subterranean fires. Already, in the nineteenth year of our era,
according to Cassiodorus and Pliny, a new island, Theia (the
divine), appeared in the very place where these islets have recently
been formed. Then they sank under the waves, to rise again in the year
69, when they again subsided. Since that time to our days, the
Plutonian work has been suspended. But, on February 3, 1866, a new
island which they named George Island, emerged from the midst of the
sulphurous vapor near Nea Kamenni, and settled again the sixth of
the same month. Seven days after, February 13, the Island of Aphroessa
appeared, leaving between Nea Kamenni and itself a canal ten yards
broad. I was in these seas when the phenomenon occurred, and I was
able, therefore, to observe all the different phases. The Island of
Aphroessa, of round form, measured three hundred feet in diameter, and
thirty feet in height. It was composed of black and vitreous lava,
mixed with fragments of feldspar. And lastly, on March 10, a smaller
island, called Reka showed itself near Nea Kamenni, and, since then,
these three have joined together, forming but one and the same
    "And the canal in which we are at this moment?" I asked.
    "Here it is," replied Captain Nemo, showing me a map of the
archipelago. "You see I have marked the new islands."
    I returned to the glass. The Nautilus was no longer moving, the
heat was becoming unbearable. The sea, which till now had been
white, was red, owing to the presence of salts of iron. In spite of
the ship's being hermetically sealed, an insupportable smell of
sulphur filled the saloon, and the brilliancy of the electricity was
entirely extinguished by bright scarlet flames. I was in a bath, I was
choking, I was broiled.
    "We can remain no longer in this boiling water," said I to the
    "It would not be prudent," replied the impassive Captain Nemo.
    An order was given; the Nautilus tacked about and left the furnace
it could not brave with impunity. A quarter of an hour after we were
breathing fresh air on the surface. The thought then struck me that,
if Ned Land had chosen this part of the sea for our flight, we
should never come alive out of this sea of fire.
    The next day, February 16, we left the basin which, between Rhodes
and Alexandria, is reckoned about fifteen hundred fathoms in depth,
and the Nautilus, passing some distance from Cerigo, quitted the
Grecian archipelago after having doubled Cape Matapan.
                          CHAPTER VII.


    THE Mediterranean, the blue sea par excellence, "the great sea" of
the Hebrews, "the sea" of the Greeks, the "mare nostrum" of the
Romans, bordered by orange trees, aloes, cacti, and sea pines;
embalmed with the perfume of the myrtle, surrounded by rude mountains,
saturated with pure and transparent air, but incessantly worked by
underground fires, a perfect battlefield in which Neptune and Pluto
still dispute the empire of the world!
    It is upon these banks, and on these waters, says Michelet, that
man is renewed in one of the most powerful climates of the globe. But,
beautiful as it was, I could only take a rapid glance at the basin
whose superficial area is two millions of square miles. Even Captain
Nemo's knowledge was lost to me, for this enigmatical person did not
appear once during our passage at full speed. I estimated the course
which the Nautilus took under the waves of the sea at about six
hundred leagues, and it was accomplished in forty-eight hours.
Starting on the morning of February 16 from the shores of Greece, we
had crossed the Straits of Gibraltar by sunrise on the eighteenth.
    It was plain to me that this Mediterranean, inclosed in the
midst of those countries which he wished to avoid, was distasteful
to Captain Nemo. Those waves and those breezes brought back too many
remembrances, if not too many regrets. Here he had no longer that
independence and that liberty of gait which he had had when in the
open seas, and his Nautilus felt itself cramped between the close
shores of Africa and Europe.
    Our speed was now twenty-five miles an hour. It may be well
understood that Ned Land, to his great disgust, was obliged to
renounce his intended flight. He could not launch the pinnace, going
at the rate of twelve or thirteen yards every second. To quit the
Nautilus under such conditions, would be as bad as jumping from a
train going at full speed- an imprudent thing, to say the least of it.
Besides, our vessel only mounted to the surface of the waves at
night to renew its stock of air; it was steered entirely by the
compass and the log.
    I saw no more of the interior of this Mediterranean than a
traveler by express train perceives of the landscape which flies
before his eyes! that is to say, the distant horizon, and not the
nearer objects which pass like a flash of lightning.
    In the midst of the mass of waters brightly lit up by the electric
light, glided some of those lampreys, more than a yard long, common to
almost every climate. Some of the oxyrhynchi, a kind of ray five
feet broad, with white belly and gray spotted back, spread out like
a large shawl carried along by the current. Other rays passed so
quickly that I could not see if they deserved the name of eagles which
was given to them by the ancient Greeks, or the qualification of rats,
toads, and bats, with which modern fishermen have loaded them. A few
milander sharks, twelve feet long, and much feared by divers,
struggled among them. Sea foxes eight feet long, endowed with
wonderful fineness of scent, appeared like large blue shadows. Some
dorades of the shark kind, some of which measured seven and a half
feet, showed themselves in their dress of blue and silver, encircled
by small bands which struck sharply against the somber tints of
their fins, a fish consecrated to Venus, the eyes of which are incased
in a socket of gold, a precious species, friend of all waters, fresh
or salt, an inhabitant of rivers, lakes, and oceans, living in all
climates, and bearing all temperatures; a race belonging to the
geological era of the earth, and which has preserved all the beauty of
its first days. Magnificent sturgeons, nine or ten yards long,
creatures of great speed, striking the panes of glass with their
strong tails, displayed their bluish backs with small brown spots;
they resemble the sharks, but are not equal to them in. strength,
and are to be met with in all seas.
    But of all the diverse inhabitants of the Mediterranean, those I
observed to the greatest advantage, when the Nautilus approached the
surface, belonged to the sixty-third genus of bony fish. They were a
kind of tunny, with bluish black backs, and silvery breast-plates,
whose dorsal fins threw out sparkles of gold. They are said to
follow in the wake of vessels whose refreshing shade they seek from
the fire of a tropical sky, and they did not belie the saying, for
they accompanied the Nautilus as they did in former times the vessel
of La Perouse. For many a long hour they struggled to keep up with our
vessel. I was never tired of admiring these creatures really built for
speed- their small heads, their bodies lithe and cigar-shaped, which
in some were more than three yards long, their pectoral fins and
forked tail endowed with remarkable strength. They swam in a triangle,
like certain flocks of birds, whose rapidity they equaled, and of
which the ancients used to say that they understood geometry and
strategy. But still they do not escape the pursuit of the
Provencals, who esteem them as highly as the inhabitants of the
Propontis and of Italy used to do; and these precious, but blind and
foolhardy creatures, perish by millions in the nets of the
    With regard to the species of fish common to the Atlantic and
the Mediterranean, the giddy speed of the Nautilus prevented me from
observing them with any degree of accuracy.
    As to marine mammals, I thought, in passing the entrance of the
Adriatic, that I saw two or three cachalots, furnished with one dorsal
fin, of the genus physetera, some dolphins of the genus
globicephali, peculiar to the Mediterranean, the back part of the head
being marked like a zebra with small lines; also, a dozen of seals,
with white bellies and black hair, known by the name of monks, and
which really have the air of a Dominican; they are about three yards
in length.
    As to zoophytes, for some instants I was able to admire a
beautiful orange galeolaria, which had fastened itself to the port
panel; it held on by a long filament, and was divided into an infinity
of branches, terminated by the finest lace which could ever have
been woven by the rivals of Arachne herself. Unfortunately, I could
not take this admirable specimen; and doubtless no other Mediterranean
zoophyte would have offered itself to my observation, if, on the night
of the sixteenth, the Nautilus had not, singularly enough, slackened
its speed, under the following circumstances.
    We were then passing between Sicily and the coast of Tunis. In the
narrow space between Cape Bon and the Straits of Messina, the bottom
of the sea rose almost suddenly. There was a perfect bank, on which
there was not more than nine fathoms of water, while on either side
the depth was ninety fathoms.
    The Nautilus had to maneuver very carefully so as not to strike
against this submarine barrier.
    I showed Conseil, on the map of the Mediterranean, the spot
occupied by this reef.
    "But if you please, Sir," observed Conseil, "it is like a real
isthmus joining Europe to Africa."
    "Yes, my boy, it forms a perfect bar to the Straits of Lybia,
and the soundings of Smith have proved that in former times the
continents between Cape Boco and Cape Furina were joined."
    "I can well believe it," said Conseil.
    "I will add," I continued, "that a similar barrier exists
between Gibraltar and Ceuta, which in geological times formed the
entire Mediterranean."
    "What if some volcanic burst should one day raise these two
barriers above the waves?"
    "It is not probable, Conseil."
    "Well, but allow me to finish, please, Sir; if this phenomenon
should take place, it will be troublesome for M. Lesseps, who has
taken so much pains to pierce the isthmus."
    "I agree with you; but I repeat, Conseil, this phenomenon will
never happen. The violence of subterranean force is ever
diminishing. Volcanoes, so plentiful in the first days of the world,
are being extinguished by degrees; the internal heat is weakened,
the temperature of the lower strata of the globe is lowered by a
perceptible quantity every century to the detriment of our globe,
for its heat is its life."
    "But the sun?"
    "The sun is not sufficient, Conseil. Can it give heat to a dead
    "Not that I know of."
    "Well, my friend, this earth will one day be that cold corpse;
it will become uninhabitable and uninhabited like the moon, which
has long since lost all its vital heat."
    "In how many centuries?"
    "In some hundreds of thousands of years, my boy."
    "Then," said Conseil, "we shall have time to finish our journey,
that is, if Ned Land does not interfere with it."
    And Conseil, reassured, returned to the study of the bank, which
the Nautilus was skirting at a moderate speed.
    There, beneath the rocky and volcanic bottom, lay outspread a
living flora of sponges and reddish cydippes, which emitted a slight
phosphorescent light, commonly known by the name of sea cucumbers; and
walking comatulae more than a yard long, the purple of which
completely colored the water around
    The Nautilus having now passed the high bank on the Libyan
Straits, returned to the deep waters and its accustomed speed.
    From that time no more mollusks, no more articulates, no more
zoophytes; barely a few large fish passing like shadows.
    During the nights of February 16 and 17, we had entered the second
Mediterranean basin, the greatest depth of which was 1,450 fathoms.
The Nautilus, by the action of its screw, slid down the inclined
planes, and buried itself in the lowest depths of the sea.
    On February 18, about three o'clock in the morning, we were at the
entrance of the Strait of Gibraltar. There once existed two
currents: an upper one, long since recognized, which conveys the
waters of the ocean into the basin of the Mediterranean; and a lower
countercurrent, which reasoning has now shown to exist. Indeed, the
volume of water in the Mediterranean, incessantly added to by the
waves of the Atlantic, and by rivers falling into it, would each
year raise the level of this sea, for its evaporation is not
sufficient to restore the equilibrium. As it is not so, we must
necessarily admit the existence of an undercurrent, which empties into
the basin of the Atlantic, through the Strait of Gibraltar, the
surplus waters of the Mediterranean. A fact, indeed; and it was this
countercurrent by which the Nautilus profited. It advanced rapidly
by the narrow pass. For one instant I caught a glimpse of the
beautiful ruins of the temple of Hercules, buried in the ground,
according to Pliny, and with the low island which supports it; and a
few minutes later we were floating on the Atlantic.
                          CHAPTER VIII.

                            VIGO BAY.

    THE Atlantic! a vast sheet of water, whose superficial area covers
twenty-five millions of square miles, the length of which is nine
thousand miles, with a mean breadth of two thousand seven hundred-
an ocean whose parallel winding shores embrace an immense
circumference, watered by the largest rivers of the world, the St.
Lawrence, the Mississippi, the Amazon, the Plata, the Orinoco, the
Niger, the Senegal, the Elbe, the Loire, and the Rhine, which carry
water from the most civilized, as well as from the most savage
countries! Magnificent field of water, incessantly plowed by vessels
of every nation, sheltered by the flags of every nation, and which
terminates in those two terrible points so dreaded by mariners, Cape
Horn, and the Cape of Tempests!
    The Nautilus was piercing the water with its sharp spur, after
having accomplished nearly ten thousand leagues in three months and
a half, a distance greater than the great circle of the earth. Where
were we going now? And what was reserved for the future? The Nautilus,
leaving the Strait of Gibraltar, had gone far out. It returned to
the surface of the waves, and our daily walks on the platform were
restored to us.
    I mounted at once, accompanied by Ned Land and Conseil. At a
distance of about twelve miles, Cape St. Vincent was dimly to be seen,
forming the southwestern point of the Spanish peninsula. A strong
southerly gale was blowing. The sea was swollen and billowy; it made
the Nautilus rock violently. It was almost impossible to keep one's
footing on the platform, which the heavy rolls of the sea beat over
every instant. So we descended after inhaling some mouthfuls of
fresh air.
    I returned to my room, Conseil to his cabin; but the Canadian,
with a preoccupied air, followed me. Our rapid passage across the
Mediterranean had not allowed him to put his project into execution,
and he could not help showing his disappointment. When the door of
my room was shut, he sat down and looked at me silently.
    "Friend Ned," said I, "I understand you; but you cannot reproach
yourself. To have attempted to leave the Nautilus under the
circumstances would have been folly."
    Ned Land did not answer; his compressed lips and frowning brow
showed with him the violent possession this fixed idea had taken of
his mind.
    "Let us see," I continued; "we need not despair yet. We are
going up the coast of Portugal again; France and England are not far
off, where we can easily find refuge. Now, if the Nautilus, on leaving
the Strait of Gibraltar, had gone to the south, if it had carried us
toward regions where there were no continents, I should share your
uneasiness. But we know now that Captain Nemo does not fly from
civilized seas, and in some days I think you can act with security."
    Ned Land still looked at me fixedly; at length his fixed lips
parted, and he said, "It is for tonight."
    I drew myself up suddenly. I was, I admit, little prepared for
this communication. I wanted to answer the Canadian, but words would
not come.
    "We agreed to wait for an opportunity," continued Ned Land, "and
the opportunity has arrived. This night we shall be but a few miles
from the Spanish coast. It is cloudy. The wind blows freely. I have
your word, M. Aronnax, and I rely upon you."
    As I was still silent, the Canadian approached me.
    "Tonight, at nine o'clock," said he. "I have warned Conseil. At
that moment, Captain Nemo will be shut up in his room, probably in
bed. Neither the engineers nor the ship's crew can see us. Conseil and
I will gain the central staircase, and you, M. Aronnax, will remain in
the library, two steps from us, waiting my signal. The oars, the mast,
and the sail, are in the canoe. I have even succeeded in getting in
some provisions. I have procured an English wrench, to unfasten the
bolts which attach it to the shell of the Nautilus. So all is ready,
till tonight."
    "The sea is bad."
    "That I allow," replied the Canadian; "but we must risk that.
Liberty is worth paying for; besides, the boat is strong, and a few
miles with a fair wind to carry us, is no great thing. Who knows but
by tomorrow we may be a hundred leagues away? Let circumstances only
favor us, and by ten or eleven o'clock we shall have landed on some
spot of terra firma, alive or dead. But adieu now till tonight."
    With these words the Canadian withdrew, leaving me almost dumb.
I had imagined that, the chance gone, I should have time to reflect
and discuss the matter. My obstinate companion had given me no time;
and, after all, what could I have said to him? Ned Land was
perfectly right. There was almost the opportunity to profit by.
Could I retract my word, and take upon myself the responsibility of
compromising the future of my companions? Tomorrow Captain Nemo
might take us far from all land.
    At that moment a rather loud hissing told me that the reservoirs
were filling, and that the Nautilus was sinking under the waves of the
    A sad day I passed, between the desire of regaining my liberty
of action, and of abandoning the wonderful Nautilus, and leaving my
submarine studies incomplete.
    What dreadful hours I passed thus! sometimes seeing myself and
companions safely landed, sometimes wishing, in spite of my reason,
that some unforeseen circumstances would prevent the realization of
Ned Land's project.
    Twice I went to the saloon. I wished to consult the compass. I
wished to see if the direction the Nautilus was taking was bringing us
nearer or taking us farther from the coast. But no; the Nautilus
kept in Portuguese waters.
    I must therefore take my part, and prepare for flight. My
luggage was not heavy; my notes, nothing more.
    As to Captain Nemo, I asked myself what he would think of our
escape; what trouble, what wrong it might cause him, and what he might
do in case of its discovery or failure. Certainly I had no cause to
complain of him; on the contrary, never was hospitality freer than
his. In leaving him, I could not be taxed with ingratitude. No oath
bound us to him. It was on the strength of circumstances he relied,
and not upon our word, to fix us forever.
    I had not seen the captain since our visit to the Island of
Santorin. Would chance bring me to his presence before our
departure? I wished it, and I feared it at the same time. I listened
if I could hear him walking in the room contiguous to mine. No sound
reached my ear. I felt an unbearable uneasiness. This day of waiting
seemed eternal. Hours struck too slowly to keep pace with my
    My dinner was served in my room as usual. I ate but little; I
was too preoccupied. I left the table at seven o'clock. A hundred
and twenty minutes (I counted them) still separated me from the moment
in which I was to join Ned Land. My agitation redoubled. My pulse beat
violently. I could not remain quiet. I went and came, hoping to calm
my troubled spirit by constant movement. The idea of failure in our
bold enterprise was the least painful of my anxieties; but the thought
of seeing our project discovered before leaving the Nautilus, of being
brought before Captain Nemo, irritated, or, what was worse, saddened
at my desertion, made my heart beat.
    I wanted to see the saloon for the last time. I descended the
stairs, and arrived in the museum where I had passed so many useful
and agreeable hours. I looked at all its riches, all its treasures,
like a man on the eve of an eternal exile, who was leaving never to
return. These wonders of Nature, these masterpieces of art, among
which, for so many days, my life had been concentrated, I was going to
abandon them forever! I should like to have taken a last look
through the windows of the saloon into the waters of the Atlantic: but
the panels were hermetically closed, and a cloak of steel separated me
from that ocean which I had not yet explored.
    In passing through the saloon, I came near the door, let into
the angle, which opened into the captain's room. To my great surprise,
this door was ajar. I drew back, involuntarily. If Captain Nemo should
be in his room, he could see me. But, hearing no noise, I drew nearer.
The room was deserted. I pushed open the door, and took some steps
forward. Still the same monklike severity of aspect.
    Suddenly the clock struck eight. The first beat of the hammer on
the bell awoke me from my dreams. I trembled as if an invisible eye
had plunged into my most secret thoughts, and I hurried from the room.
    There my eye fell upon the compass. Our course was still north.
The log indicated moderate speed, the manometer a depth of about sixty
    I returned to my room, clothed myself warmly-sea boots, an
otterskin cap, a great coat of byssus, lined with sealskin; I was
ready, I was waiting. The vibration of the screw alone broke the
deep silence which reigned on board. I listened attentively. Would
no loud voice suddenly inform me that Ned Land had been surprised in
his projected flight? A mortal dread hung over me, and I vainly
tried to regain my accustomed coolness.
    At a few minutes to nine, I put my ear to the captain's door. No
noise. I left my room and returned to the saloon, which was half in
obscurity, but deserted.
    I opened the door communicating with the library. The same
insufficient light, the same solitude. I placed myself near the door
leading to the central staircase, and there waited for Ned Land's
    At that moment the trembling of the screw sensibly diminished,
then it stopped entirely. The silence was now only disturbed by the
beatings of my own heart. Suddenly a slight shock was felt; and I knew
that the Nautilus had stopped at the bottom of the ocean. My
uneasiness increased. The Canadian's signal did not come. I felt
inclined to join Ned Land and beg of him to put off his attempt. I
felt that we were not sailing under our usual conditions.
    At this moment the door of the large saloon opened, and Captain
Nemo appeared. He saw me, and, without further preamble, began in an
amiable tone of voice:
    "Ah, Sir! I have been looking for you. Do you know the history
of Spain?"
    Now, one might know the history of one's own country by heart; but
in the condition I was at the time, with troubled mind and head
quite lost, I could not have said a word of it.
    "Well," continued Captain Nemo, "you heard my question? Do you
know the history of Spain?"
    "Very slightly," I answered.
    "Well, here are learned men having to learn," said the captain.
"Come, sit down, and I will tell you a curious episode in this
history. Sir, listen well," said he; "this history will interest you
on one side, for it will answer a question which doubtless you have
not been able to solve."
    "I listen, Captain," said I, not knowing what my interlocutor
was driving at, and asking myself if this incident was bearing on
our projected flight.
    "Sir, if you have no objection, we will go back to 1702. You
cannot be ignorant that your king, Louis XIV., thinking that the
gesture of a potentate was sufficient to bring the Pyrenees under
his yoke, had imposed the Duke of Anjou, his grandson, on the
Spaniards. This prince reigned more or less badly under the name of
Philip V., and had a strong party against him abroad. Indeed, the
preceding year, the royal houses of Holland, Austria, and England, had
concluded a treaty of alliance at The Hague, with the intention of
plucking the crown of Spain from the head of Philip V., and placing it
on that of an arch-duke to whom they prematurely gave the title of
Charles III.
    "Spain must resist this coalition; but she was almost entirely
unprovided with either soldiers or sailors. However, money would not
fail them, provided that their galleons, laden with gold and silver
from America, once entered their ports. And about the end of 1702 they
expected a rich convoy which France was escorting with a fleet of
twenty-three vessels, commanded by Admiral Chateau-Renaud, for the
ships of the coalition were already beating the Atlantic. This
convoy was to go to Cadiz, but the Admiral, hearing that an English
fleet was cruising in those waters, resolved to make for a French
    "The Spanish commanders of the convoy objected to this decision.
They wanted to be taken to a Spanish port, and if not to Cadiz, into
Vigo Bay, situated on the northwest coast of Spain, and which was
not blocked.
    "Admiral Chateau-Renaud had the rashness to obey this
injunction, and the galleons entered Vigo Bay.
    "Unfortunately, it formed an open road which could not be defended
in any way. They must therefore hasten to unload the galleons before
the arrival of the combined fleet; and time would not have failed them
had not a miserable question of rivalry suddenly arisen.
    "You are following the chain of events?" asked Captain Nemo.
    "Perfectly," said I, not knowing the end proposed by this
historical lesson.
    "I will continue. This is what passed. The merchants of Cadiz
had a privilege by which they had the right of receiving all
merchandise coming from the West Indies. Now, to disembark these
ingots at the port of Vigo, was depriving them of their rights. They
complained at Madrid, and obtained the consent of the weak-minded
Philip that the convoy, without discharging its cargo, should remain
sequestered in the roads of Vigo until the enemy had disappeared.
    "But while coming to this decision, on October 22, 1702, the
English vessels arrived in Vigo Bay, when Admiral Chateau-Renaud, in
spite of inferior forces, fought bravely. But seeing that the treasure
must fall into the enemy's hands, he burned and scuttled every
galleon, which. went to the bottom with their immense riches."
    Captain Nemo stopped. I admit I could not yet see why this history
should interest me.
    "Well?" I asked.
    "Well, M. Aronnax," replied Captain Nemo, "we are in that Vigo
Bay; and it rests with yourself whether you will penetrate its
    The captain rose, telling me to follow him. I had had time to
recover. I obeyed. The saloon was dark, but through the transparent
glass the waves were sparkling. I looked.
    For half a mile around the Nautilus, the waters seemed bathed in
electric light. The sandy bottom was clean and bright. Some of the
ship's crew in their diving dresses were clearing away half rotten
barrels and empty cases from the midst of the blackened wrecks. From
these cases and from these barrels escaped ingots of gold and
silver, cascades of piastres and jewels. The sand was heaped up with
them. Laden with their precious booty the men returned to the
Nautilus, disposed of their burden, and went back to this
inexhaustible fishery of gold and silver.
    I understood now. This was the scene of the battle of October
22, 1702. Here on this very spot the galleons laden for the Spanish
government had sunk. Here Captain Nemo came, according to his wants,
to pack up those millions with which he burdened the Nautilus. It
was for him and him alone America had given up her precious metals. He
was heir direct, without anyone to share, in those treasures torn from
the Incas and from the conquered of Hernando Cortes.
    "Did you know, Sir," he asked, smiling, "that the sea contained
such riches?"
    "I knew," I answered, "that they value the money held in
suspension in these waters at two millions."
    "Doubtless; but to extract this money the expense would be greater
than the profit. Here, on the contrary, I have but to pick up what man
has lost- and not only in Vigo Bay, but in a thousand other spots
where shipwrecks have happened, and which are marked on my submarine
map. Can you understand now the source of the millions I am worth?"
    "I understand, Captain. But allow me to tell you that in exploring
Vigo Bay you have only been beforehand with a rival society."
    "And which?"
    "A society which has received from the Spanish government the
privilege of seeking these buried galleons. The shareholders are led
on by the allurement of an enormous bounty, for they value these
rich shipwrecks at five hundred millions."
    "Five hundred millions they were," answered Captain Nemo, "but
they are so no longer."
    "Just so," said I; "and a warning to those shareholders would be
an act of charity. But who knows if it would be well received? What
gamblers usually regret above all is less the loss of their money,
than of their foolish hopes. After all, I pity them less than the
thousands of unfortunates to whom so much riches well distributed
would have been profitable, while for them they will be forever
    I had no sooner expressed this regret than I felt that it must
have wounded Captain Nemo.
    "Barren!" he exclaimed with animation. "Do you think then, Sir,
that these riches are lost because I gather them? Is it for myself
alone, according to your idea, that I take the trouble to collect
these treasures? Who told you that I did not make a good use of it? Do
you think I am ignorant that there are suffering beings and
oppressed races on this earth, miserable creatures to console, victims
to avenge? Do you not understand?"
    Captain Nemo stopped at these last words, regretting perhaps
that he had spoken so much. But I had guessed that whatever the motive
which had forced him to seek independence under the sea, it had left
him still a man, that his heart still beat for the sufferings of
humanity, and that his immense charity was for oppressed races as well
as individuals. And I then understood for whom those millions were
destined, which were forwarded by Captain Nemo when the Nautilus was
in the waters of Crete.
                           CHAPTER IX.

                      A VANISHED CONTINENT.

    THE next morning, February 19, I saw the Canadian enter my room. I
expected this visit. He looked very disappointed.
    "Well Sir?" said he.
    "Well Ned, fortune was against us yesterday."
    "Yes; that captain must needs stop exactly at the hour we intended
leaving his vessel."
    "Yes, Ned, he had business at his bankers."
    "His bankers!"
    "Or rather his banking house; by that I mean the ocean, where
his riches are safer than in the chests of the State."
    I then related to the Canadian the incidents of the preceding
night, hoping to bring him back to the idea of not abandoning the
captain; but my recital had no other result than an energetically
expressed regret from Ned, that he had not been able to take a walk on
the battle field of Vigo on his own account.
    "However," said he, "all is not ended. It is only a blow of the
harpoon lost. Another time we must succeed; and tonight, if
    "In what direction is the Nautilus going?" I asked.
    "I do not know," replied Ned.
    "Well, at noon we shall see the point."
    The Canadian returned to Conseil. As soon as I was dressed, I went
into the saloon. The compass was not reassuring. The course of the
Nautilus was S.S.W. We were turning our backs on Europe.
    I waited with some impatience till the ship's place was pricked on
the chart. At about half-past eleven the reservoirs were emptied,
and our vessel rose to the surface of the ocean. I rushed toward the
platform. Ned Land had preceded me. No more land in sight. Nothing but
an immense sea. Some sails on the horizon, doubtless those going to
San Roque in search of favorable winds for doubling the Cape of Good
Hope. The weather was cloudy. A gale of wind was preparing. Ned raved,
and tried to pierce the cloudy horizon. He still hoped that behind all
that fog stretched the land he so longed for.
    At noon the sun showed itself for an instant. The second
profited by this brightness to take its height. Then the sea
becoming more billowy, we descended, and the panel closed.
    An hour after, upon consulting the chart I saw the position of the
Nautilus was marked 16 degrees 17' longitude, and 33 degrees 22'
latitude, at 150 leagues from the nearest coast. There was no means of
flight, and I leave you to imagine the rage of the Canadian, when I
informed him of our situation.
    For myself, I was not particularly sorry. I felt lightened of
the load which had oppressed me, and was able to return with some
degree of calmness to my accustomed work.
    That night, about eleven o'clock, I received a most unexpected
visit from Captain Nemo. He asked me very graciously if I felt
fatigued from my watch of the preceding night. I answered in the
    "Then, M. Aronnax, I propose a curious excursion."
    "Propose, Captain."
    "You have hitherto only visited the submarine depths by
daylight, under the brightness of the sun. Would it suit you to see
them in the darkness of the night?"
    "Most willingly."
    "I warn you, the way will be tiring. We shall have far to walk,
and must climb a mountain. The roads are not well kept."
    "What you say, Captain, only heightens my curiosity; I am ready to
follow you."
    "Come then, Sir, we will put on our diving outfit."
    Arrived at the robing room, I saw that neither of my companions
nor any of the ship's crew were to follow us on this excursion.
Captain Nemo had not even proposed my taking with me either Ned or
Conseil. In a few moments we had put on our diving suits; they
placed on our backs the reservoirs, abundantly filled with air, but no
electric lamps were prepared. I called the captain's attention to
the fact.
    "They will be useless," he replied.
    I thought I had not heard aright, but I could not repeat my
observation, for the captain's head had already disappeared in its
metal case. I finished harnessing myself, I felt them put an
iron-pointed stick into my hand, and some minutes later, after going
through the usual form, we set foot on the bottom of the Atlantic,
at a depth of 150 fathoms. Midnight was near. The waters were
profoundly dark, but Captain Nemo pointed out in the distance a
reddish spot, a sort of large light shining brilliantly about two
miles from the Nautilus. What this fire might be, what could feed
it, why and how it lit up the liquid mass, I could not say. In any
case, it did light our way, vaguely, it is true, but I soon accustomed
myself to the peculiar darkness, and I understood, under such
circumstances, the uselessness of the Ruhmkorff apparatus.
    As we advanced, I heard a kind of pattering above my head. The
noise redoubling, sometimes producing a continual shower, I soon
understood the cause. It was rain falling violently, and crisping
the surface of the waves. Instinctively the thought flashed across
my mind that I should be wet through! By the water! in the midst of
the water! I could not help laughing at the odd idea. But indeed, in
the thick diving suit, the liquid element is no longer felt, and one
only seems to be in an atmosphere somewhat denser than the terrestrial
atmosphere. Nothing more.
    After half an hour's walk the soil became stony. Medusae,
microscopic crustacea, and pennatules lit it slightly with their
phosphorescent gleam. I caught a glimpse of pieces of stone covered
with millions of zoophytes, and masses of seaweed. My feet often
slipped upon this viscous carpet of seaweed, and without my
iron-tipped stick I should have fallen more than once. In turning
round, I could still see the whitish lantern of the Nautilus beginning
to pale in the distance.
    But the rosy light which guided us increased and lit up the
horizon. The presence of this fire under water puzzled me in the
highest degree. Was it some electric effulgence? Was I going toward
a natural phenomenon as yet unknown to the savants of the earth? Or
even (for this thought crossed my brain) had the hand of man aught
to do with this conflagration? Had he fanned this flame? Was I to meet
in these depths companions and friends of Captain Nemo whom he was
going to visit, and who, like him, led this strange existence?
Should I find down there a whole colony of exiles, who, weary of the
miseries of this earth, had sought and found independence in the
deep ocean? All these foolish and unreasonable ideas pursued me. And
in this condition of mind, overexcited by the succession of wonders
continually passing before my eyes, I should not have been surprised
to meet at the bottom of the sea one of those submarine towns of which
Captain Nemo dreamed.
    Our road grew lighter and lighter. The white glimmer came in
rays from the summit of a mountain about eight hundred feet high.
But what I saw was simply a reflection, developed by the clearness
of the waters. The source of this inexplicable light was a fire on the
opposite side of the mountain.
    In the midst of this stony maze, furrowing the bottom of the
Atlantic, Captain Nemo advanced without hesitation. He knew this
dreary road. Doubtless he had often traveled over it, and could not
lose himself. I followed him with unshaken confidence. He seemed to me
like a genie of the sea; and, as he walked before me, I could not help
admiring his stature, which was outlined in black on the luminous
    It was one in the morning when we arrived at the first slopes of
the mountain; but to gain access to them we must venture through the
difficult paths of a vast copse.
    Yes; a copse of dead trees, without leaves, without sap, trees
petrified by the action of the water, and here and there overtopped by
gigantic pines. It was like a coal pit, still standing, holding by the
roots to the broken soil, and whose branches, like fine black paper
cuttings, showed distinctly on the watery ceiling. Picture, to
yourself a forest in the Hartz, hanging on to the sides of the
mountain, but a forest swallowed up. The paths were encumbered with
seaweed and fucus, between which groveled a whole world of
crustacea. I went along, climbing the rocks, striding over extended
trunks, breaking the sea bindweed, which hung from one tree to the
other; and frightening the fishes, which flew from branch to branch.
Pressing onward, I felt no fatigue. I followed my guide, who was never
tired. What a spectacle! how can I express it? how paint the aspect of
those woods and rocks in this medium- their under parts dark and wild,
the upper colored with red tints, by that light which the reflecting
powers of the waters doubled? We climbed rocks, which fell directly
after with gigantic bounds, and the low growling of an avalanche. To
right and left ran long, dark galleries, where sight was lost. Here
opened vast glades which the hand of man seemed to have worked; and
I sometimes asked myself if some inhabitant of these submarine regions
would not suddenly appear to me.
    But Captain Nemo was still mounting. I could not stay behind. I
followed boldly. My stick gave me good help. A false step would have
been dangerous on the narrow passes sloping down to the sides of the
gulfs; but I walked with firm step, without feeling any giddiness. Now
I jumped a crevice the depth of which would have made me hesitate
had it been among the glaciers on the land; now I ventured on the
unsteady trunk of a tree, thrown across from one abyss to the other,
without looking under my feet, having only eyes to admire the wild
sights of this region.
    There, monumental rocks, leaning on their regularly cut bases,
seemed to defy all laws of equilibrium. From between their stony
knees, trees sprang, like a jet under heavy pressure, and upheld
others which upheld them. Natural towers, large scarps, cut
perpendicularly, like a "curtain," inclined at an angle which the laws
of gravitation could never have tolerated in terrestrial regions.
    Two hours after quitting the Nautilus, we had crossed the line
of trees, and a hundred feet above our heads rose the top of the
mountain, which cast a shadow on the brilliant irradiation of the
opposite slope. Some petrified shrubs ran fantastically here and
there. Fishes got up under our feet like birds in the long grass.
The massive rocks were rent with impenetrable fractures, deep grottos,
and unfathomable holes, at the bottom of which formidable creatures
might be heard moving. My blood curdled when I saw enormous antennae
blocking my road, or some frightful claw closing with a noise in the
shadow of some cavity. Millions of luminous spots shone brightly in
the midst of the darkness. They were the eyes of giant crustacea
crouched in their holes; giant lobsters setting themselves up like
halberdiers, and moving their claws with the clicking sound of
pincers; titanic crabs, pointed like a gun on its carriage; and
frightful-looking poulps, interweaving their tentacles like a living
nest of serpents.
    We had now arrived on the first platform, where other surprises
awaited me. Before us lay some picturesque ruins, which betrayed the
hand of man, and not that of the Creator. There were vast heaps of
stone, among which might be traced the vague and shadowy forms of
castles and temples, clothed with a world of blossoming zoophytes, and
over which, instead of ivy, seaweed and fucus threw a thick
vegetable mantle. But what was this portion of the globe which had
been swallowed by cataclysms? Who had placed those rocks and stones
like cromlechs of prehistoric times? Where was I? Whither had
Captain Nemo's fancy hurried me?
    I would fain have asked him; not being able to, I stopped him- I
seized his arm. But, shaking his head and pointing to the highest
point of the mountain, he seemed to say:
    "Come, come along; come higher!"
    I followed, and in a few minutes I had climbed to the top, which
for a circle of ten yards commanded the whole mass of rock.
    I looked down the side we had just climbed. The mountain did not
rise more than seven or eight hundred feet above the level of the
plain; but on the opposite side it commanded from twice that height
the depths of this part of the Atlantic. My eyes ranged far over a
large space lit by a violent fulguration. In fact, the mountain was
a volcano.
    At fifty feet above the peak, in the midst of a rain of stones and
scoriae, a large crater was vomiting forth torrents of lava which fell
in a cascade of fire into the bosom of the liquid mass. Thus situated,
this volcano lit the lower plain like an immense torch, even to the
extreme limits of the horizon. I said that the submarine crater
threw up lava, but no flames. Flames require the oxygen of the air
to feed upon, and cannot be developed under water; but streams of
lava, having in themselves the principles of their incandescence,
can attain a white heat, fight vigorously against the liquid
element, and turn it to vapor by contact.
    Rapid currents bearing all these gases in diffusion, and
torrents of lava, slid to the bottom of the mountain like an
eruption of Vesuvius on Terra del Greco.
    There, indeed, under my eyes, ruined, destroyed, lay a town- its
roofs open to the sky, its temples fallen, its arches dislocated,
its columns lying on the ground, from which one could still
recognize the massive character of Tuscan architecture. Farther on,
some remains of a gigantic aqueduct; here the high base of an
Acropolis, with the floating outline of a Parthenon; there traces of a
quay, as if an ancient port had formerly abutted on the borders of the
ocean, and disappeared with its merchant vessels and its war
galleys. Farther on again, long lines of sunken walls and broad
deserted streets- a perfect Pompeii escaped beneath the waters. Such
was the sight that Captain Nemo brought before my eyes!
    Where was I? Where was I? I must know, at any cost. I tried to
speak, but Captain Nemo stopped me by a gesture, and picking up a
piece of chalk stone, advanced to a rock of black basalt, and traced
the one word


    What a light shot through my mind! Atlantis, the ancient Meropis
of Theopompus, the Atlantis of Plato, that continent denied by Origen,
Jamblichus, D'Anville, Malte-Brun, and Humboldt, who placed its
disappearance among the legendary tales admitted by Posidonius, Pliny,
Ammianus Marcellinus, Tertullian, Engel, Buffon, and D'Avezac. I had
it there now before my eyes, bearing upon it the unexceptionable
testimony of its catastrophe. The region thus engulfed was beyond
Europe, Asia, and Lybia, beyond the columns of Hercules, where those
powerful people, the Atlantides, lived, against whom the first wars of
ancient Greece were waged.
    Thus, led by the strangest destiny, I was treading underfoot the
mountains of this continent, touching with my hand those ruins a
thousand generations old, and contemporary with the geological epochs.
I was walking on the very spot where the contemporaries of the first
man had walked.
    While I was trying to fix in my mind every detail of this grand
landscape, Captain Nemo remained motionless, as if petrified in mute
ecstasy, leaning on a mossy stone. Was he dreaming of those
generations long since disappeared? Was he asking them the secret of
human destiny? Was it here this strange man came to steep himself in
historical recollections, and live again this ancient life- he who
wanted no modern one? What would I not have given to know his
thoughts, to share them, to understand them! We remained for an hour
at this place, contemplating the vast plain under the brightness of
the lava which was sometimes wonderfully intense. Rapid tremblings ran
along the mountain caused by internal bubblings, deep noises
distinctly transmitted through the liquid medium were echoed with
majestic grandeur. At this moment the moon appeared through the mass
of waters, and threw her pale rays on the buried continent. It was but
a gleam, but what an indescribable effect! The captain rose, cast
one last look on the immense plain, and then bade me follow him.
    We descended the mountain rapidly, and the mineral forest once
passed, I saw the lantern of the Nautilus shining like a star. The
captain walked straight to it, and we got on board as the first rays
of light whitened the surface of the ocean.
                           CHAPTER X.

                    THE SUBMARINE COAL MINES.

    THE next day, February 20, I awoke very late; the fatigues of
the previous night had prolonged my sleep until eleven o'clock. I
dressed quickly, and hastened to find the course the Nautilus was
taking. The instruments showed it to be still toward the south, with a
speed of twenty miles an hour, and a depth of fifty fathoms.
    The species of fishes here did not differ much from those
already noticed. There were rays of giant size, five yards long, and
endowed with great muscular strength, which enabled them to shoot
above the waves; sharks of many kinds, among others a glaucus of
fifteen feet long, with triangular sharp teeth, and whose transparency
rendered it almost invisible in the water; humantins, prism-shaped,
and clad with a tuberculous hide; sturgeons, resembling their
congeners of the Mediterranean; trumpet syngnathes, a foot and a
half long, furnished with grayish bladders, without teeth or tongue,
and as supple as snakes.
    Among bony fish, Conseil noticed some blackish makairas, about
three yards long, armed at the upper jaw with a piercing sword;
other bright-colored creatures, known in the time of Aristotle by
the name of the sea dragon, which are dangerous to capture on
account of the spikes on their back; also some coryphaenes, with brown
backs marked with little blue stripes, and surrounded with a gold
border; some beautiful dorades; and swordfish four-and-twenty feet
long, swimming in troops, fierce animals, but rather herbivorous
than carnivorous.
    About four o'clock, the soil, generally composed of a thick mud
mixed with petrified wood, changed by degrees, and it became more
stony, and seemed strewn with conglomerate and pieces of basalt,
with a sprinkling of lava and sulphurous obsidian. I thought that a
mountainous region was succeeding the long plains; and accordingly,
after a few evolutions of the Nautilus, I saw the southerly horizon
blocked by a high wall which seemed to close all exit. Its summit
evidently passed the level of the ocean. It must be a continent, or at
least an island- one of the Canaries, or of the Cape Verde Islands.
The bearings not being yet taken, perhaps designedly, I was ignorant
of our exact position. In any case, such a wall seemed to me to mark
the limits of that Atlantis, of which we had in reality passed over
only the smallest part.
    Much longer should I have remained at the window, admiring the
beauties of sea and sky, but the panels closed. At this moment the
Nautilus arrived at the side of this high perpendicular wall. What
it would do, I could not guess. I returned to my room; it no longer
moved. I laid myself down with the full intention of waking after a
few hours' sleep; but it was eight o'clock the next day when I entered
the saloon. I looked at the manometer. It told me that the Nautilus
was floating on the surface of the ocean. Besides, I heard steps on
the platform. I went to the panel. It was open; but, instead of
broad daylight, as I expected, I was surrounded by profound
darkness. Where were we? Was I mistaken? Was it still night? No; not a
star was shining, and night has not that utter darkness.
    I knew not what to think, when a voice near me said:
    "Is that you, Professor?"
    "Ah, Captain," I answered, "where are we?"
    "Underground, Sir."
    "Underground!" I exclaimed. "And the Nautilus floating still?"
    "It always floats."
    "But I do not understand."
    "Wait a few minutes, our lantern will be lit, and if you like
light places, you will be satisfied."
    I stood on the platform and waited. The darkness was so complete
that I could not even see Captain Nemo; but looking to the zenith,
exactly above my head, I seemed to catch an undecided gleam, a kind of
twilight filling a circular hole. At this instant the lantern was lit,
and its vividness dispelled the faint light. I closed my dazzled
eyes for an instant, and then looked again. The Nautilus was
stationary, floating near a mountain which formed a sort of quay.
The lake then supporting it was a lake imprisoned by a circle of
walls, measuring two miles in diameter, and six in circumference.
Its level (the manometer showed) could only be the same as the outside
level, for there must necessarily be a communication between the
lake and the sea. The high partitions, leaning forward on their
base, grew into a vaulted roof bearing the shape of an immense
funnel turned upside down, the height being about five or six
hundred yards. At the summit was a circular orifice, by which I had
caught the slight gleam of light, evidently daylight.
    "Where are we?" I asked.
    "In the very heart of an extinct volcano, the interior of which
has been invaded by the sea, after some great convulsion of the earth.
While you were sleeping, Professor, the Nautilus penetrated to this
lagoon by a natural canal, which opens about ten yards beneath the
surface of the ocean. This is its harbor of refuge, a sure,
commodious, and mysterious one, sheltered from all gales. Show me,
if you can, on the coasts of any of your continents or islands, a road
which can give such perfect refuge from all storms."
    "Certainly," I replied, "you are in safety here, Captain Nemo. Who
could reach you in the heart of a volcano? But did I not see an
opening at its summit?"
    "Yes; its crater, formerly filled with lava, vapor, and flames,
and which now gives entrance to the life-giving air we breathe."
    "But what is this volcanic mountain?"
    "It belongs to one of the numerous islands with which the sea is
strewn- to vessels a simple sand bank- to us an immense cavern. Chance
led me to discover it, and chance served me well."
    "But of what use is this refuge, Captain? The Nautilus wants no
    "No, Sir; but it wants electricity to make it move, and the
wherewithal to make the electricity- sodium to feed the elements, coal
from which to get the sodium, and a coal mine to supply the coal.
And exactly on this spot the sea covers entire forests embedded during
the geological periods, now mineralized, and transformed into coal;
for me they are an inexhaustible mine."
    "Your men follow the trade of miners here, then, Captain?"
    "Exactly so. These mines extend under the waves like the mines
of Newcastle. Here, in their diving suits, pickax and shovel in
hand, my men extract the coal, which I do not even ask from the
mines of the earth. When I burn this combustible for the manufacture
of sodium, the smoke, escaping from the crater of the mountain,
gives it the appearance of a still active volcano."
    "And we shall see your companions at work?"
    "No; not this time at least; for I am in a hurry to continue our
submarine tour of the earth. So I shall content myself with drawing
from the reserve of sodium I already possess. The time for loading
is one day only, and we continue our voyage. So if you wish to go over
the cavern, and make the round of the lagoon, you must take
advantage of today, M. Aronnax."
    I thanked the captain, and went to look for my companions, who had
not yet left their cabin. I invited them to follow me without saying
where we were. They mounted the platform. Conseil, who was
astonished at nothing, seemed to look upon it as quite natural that he
should wake under a mountain, after having fallen asleep under the
waves. But Ned Land thought of nothing but finding whether the
cavern had any exit. After breakfast, about ten o'clock, we went
down on to the mountain.
    "Here we are, once more on land," said Conseil.
    "I do not call this land," said the Canadian. "And besides, we are
not on it, but beneath it."
    Between the walls of the mountain and the waters of the lake,
lay a sandy shore, which, at its greatest breadth, measured five
hundred feet. On this soil one might easily make the tour of the lake.
But the base of the high partitions was stony ground, with volcanic
blocks and enormous pumice stones lying in picturesque heaps. All
these detached masses, covered with enamel, polished by the action
of the subterraneous fires, shone resplendent by the light of our
electric lantern. The mica dust from the shore, rising under our feet,
flew like a cloud of sparks. The bottom now rose sensibly, and we soon
arrived at long circuitous slopes, or inclined planes, which took us
higher by degrees; but we were obliged to walk carefully among these
conglomerates, bound by no cement, the feet slipping on the glassy
trachyte, composed of crystal, feldspar, and quartz.
    The volcanic nature of this enormous excavation was confirmed on
all sides, and I pointed it out to my companions.
    "Picture to yourselves," said I, "what this crater must have
been when filled with boiling lava, and when the level of the
incandescent liquid rose to the orifice of the mountain, as though
melted on the top of a hot plate."
    "I can picture it perfectly," said Conseil. "But, Sir, will you
tell me why the Great Architect has suspended operations, and how it
is that the furnace is replaced by the quiet waters of the lake?"
    "Most probably, Conseil, because some convulsion beneath the ocean
produced that very opening which has served as a passage for the
Nautilus. Then the waters of the Atlantic rushed into the interior
of the mountain. There must have been a terrible struggle between
the two elements, a struggle which ended in the victory of Neptune.
But many ages have run out since then and the submerged volcano is now
a peaceable grotto."
    "Very well," replied Ned Land, "I accept the explanation, Sir;
but, in our own interests, I regret that the opening of which you
speak was not made above the level of the sea."
    "But, friend Ned" said Conseil, "if the passage had not been under
the sea, the Nautilus could not have gone through it."
    We continued ascending. The steps became more and more
perpendicular and narrow. Deep excavations, which we were obliged to
cross, cut them here and there; sloping masses had to be turned. We
slid upon our knees and crawled along. But Conseil's dexterity and the
Canadian's strength surmounted all obstacles. At a height of about
thirty-one feet, the nature of the ground changed without becoming
more practicable. To the conglomerate and trachyte succeeded black
basalt, the first expanded in layers full of bubbles, the latter
forming regular prisms, placed like a colonnade supporting the
spring of the immense vault, an admirable specimen of natural
architecture. Between the blocks of basalt wound long streams of lava,
long since grown cold, incrusted with bituminous rays; and in some
places there were spread large carpets of sulphur. A more powerful
light shone through the upper crater, shedding a vague glimmer over
these volcanic depressions forever buried in the bosom of this
extinguished mountain.
    But our upward march was soon stopped at a height of about two
hundred fifty feet by impassable obstacles. There was a complete
vaulted arch overhanging us, and our ascent was changed to a
circular walk. At the last change vegetable life began to struggle
with the mineral. Some shrubs, and even some trees, grew from the
fractures of the walls. I recognized some euphorbias, with the caustic
sugar coming from them; heliotropes, quite incapable of justifying
their name, sadly drooped their clusters of flowers, both their
color and perfume half gone. Here and there some chrysanthemums grew
timidly at the foot of an aloe with long, sick-looking leaves. But,
between the streams of lava, I saw some little violets still
slightly perfumed, and I admit that I smelt them with delight.
Perfume is the soul of the flower, and sea flowers, those splendid
hydrophytes, have no soul.
    We had arrived at the foot of some sturdy dragon trees, which
had pushed aside the rocks with their strong roots, when Ned Land
    "Ah! Sir, a hive! a hive!"
    "A hive!" I replied, with a gesture of incredulity.
    "Yes, a hive," repeated the Canadian, "and bees humming round it."
    I approached, and was bound to believe my own eyes. There, at a
hole bored in one of the dragon trees, were some thousands of these
ingenious insects, so common in all the Canaries, and whose produce is
so much esteemed. Naturally enough, the Canadian wished to gather
the honey, and I could not well oppose his wish. A quantity of dry
leaves, mixed with sulphur, he lit with a spark from his flint, and he
began to smoke out the bees. The humming ceased by degrees, and the
hive eventually yielded several pounds of the sweetest honey, with
which Ned Land filled his haversack.
    "When I have mixed this honey with the paste of the artocarpus,"
said he, "I shall be able to offer you a succulent cake."
    "Upon my word," said Conseil, "it will be gingerbread."
    "Never mind the gingerbread," said I, "let us continue our
interesting walk."
    At every turn of the path we were following, the lake appeared
in all its length and breadth. The lantern lit up the whole of its
peaceable surface which knew neither ripple nor wave. The Nautilus
remained perfectly immovable. On the platform, and on the mountain,
the ship's crew were working like black shadows clearly carved against
the luminous atmosphere. We were now going round the highest crest
of the first layers of rock which upheld the roof. I then saw that
bees were not the only representatives of the animal kingdom in the
interior of this volcano. Birds of prey hovered here and there in
the shadows, or fled from their nests on the top of the rocks. There
were sparrowhawks with white breasts, and kestrels, and down the
slopes scampered, with their long legs, several fine fat bustards.
    I leave anyone to imagine the covetousness of the Canadian at
the sight of this savory game, and whether he did not regret having no
gun. But he did his best to replace the lead by stones, and after
several fruitless attempts, he succeeded in wounding a magnificent
bird. To say that he risked his life twenty times before reaching
it, is but the truth; but he managed so well, that the creature joined
the honey cakes in his bag. We were now obliged to descend toward
the shore, the crest becoming impracticable. Above us the crater
seemed to gape like the mouth of a well. From this place the sky could
be clearly seen, and clouds, dissipated by the west wind, leaving
behind them, even on the summit of the mountain, their misty remnants-
certain proof that they were only moderately high, for the volcano did
not rise more than eight hundred feet above the level of the ocean.
    Half an hour after the Canadian's last exploit, we had regained
the inner shore. Here the flora was represented by large carpets of
marine crystal, a little umbelliferous plant very good to pickle,
which also bears the name of pierce stone, and sea fennel. Conseil
gathered some bundles of it. As to the fauna, it might be counted by
thousands of crustacea of all sorts, lobsters, crabs, palaemons,
spider crabs, chameleon shrimps, and a large number of shells,
rockfish, and limpets. Three quarters of an hour later, we had
finished our circuitous walk and were on board. The crew had just
finished loading the sodium, and the Nautilus could have left that
instant. But Captain Nemo gave no order. Did he wish to wait until
night, and leave the submarine passage secretly? Perhaps so.
Whatever it might be, the next day, the Nautilus, having left its
port, steered clear of an land at a few yards beneath the waves of the
                           CHAPTER XI.

                        THE SARGASSO SEA.

    THAT day the Nautilus crossed a singular part of the Atlantic
Ocean. No one can be ignorant of the existence of a current of warm
water, known by the name of the Gulf Stream. After leaving the Gulf of
Florida, it went in the direction of Spitzbergen. But before
entering the Gulf of Mexico, about the forty-fifth degree of north
latitude, this current divides into two arms, the principal one
going toward the coast of Ireland and Norway, while the second bends
to the south about the height of the Azores; then, touching the
African shore, and describing a lengthened oval, returns to the
Antilles. This second arm- it is rather a collar than an arm-
surrounds with its circles of warm water that portion of the cold,
quiet, immovable ocean called the Sargasso Sea, a perfect lake in
the open Atlantic: it takes no less than three years for the great
current to pass round it. Such was the region the Nautilus was now
visiting, a perfect meadow, a close carpet of seaweed, fucus, and
tropical berries, so thick and so compact that the stern of a vessel
could hardly tear its way through it.
    And Captain Nemo, not wishing to entangle his screw in this
herbaceous mass, kept some yards beneath the surface of the waves. The
name Sargasso comes from the Spanish word "sargazzo," which
signifies kelp. This kelp, or varech, or berry plant, is the principal
formation of this immense bank. And this is the reason, according to
the learned Maury, the author of The Physical Geography of the
Globe, why these hydrophytes unite in the peaceful basin of the
Atlantic. The only explanation which can be given, he says, seems to
me to result from the experience known to all the world. Place in a
vase some fragments of cork or other floating body, and give to the
water in the vase a circular movement, the scattered fragments will
unite in a group in the center of the liquid surface. that is to
say, in the part least agitated. In the phenomenon we are considering,
the Atlantic is the vase, the Gulf Stream the circular current, and
the Sargasso Sea the central point at which the floating bodies unite.
    I share Maury's opinion, and I was able to study the phenomenon in
the very midst, where vessels rarely penetrate. Above us floated
products of all kinds, heaped up among these brownish plants; trunks
of trees torn from the Andes or the Rocky Mountains, and floated by
the Amazon or the Mississippi; numerous wrecks, remains of keels or
ships' bottoms, side planks stove in, and so weighted with shells
and barnacles, that they could not again rise to the surface. And time
will one day justify Maury's other opinion, that these substances thus
accumulated for ages, will become petrified by the action of the
water, and will then form inexhaustible coal mines- a precious reserve
prepared by farseeing Nature for the moment when men shall have
exhausted the mines of continents.
    In the midst of this inextricable mass of plants and seaweed, I
noticed some charming pink halcyons and actiniae, with their long
tentacles trailing after them; medusae, green, red, and blue, and
the great rhyostoms of Cuvier, the large umbrella of which was
bordered and festooned with violet.
    All the day of February 22 we passed in the Sargasso Sea, where
such fish as are partial to marine plants and fuci find abundant
nourishment. The next, the ocean had returned to its accustomed
aspect. From this time for nineteen days, from February 23 to March
12, the Nautilus kept in the middle of the Atlantic, carrying us at
a constant speed of a hundred leagues in twenty-four hours. Captain
Nemo evidently intended accomplishing his submarine program, and I
imagined that he intended, after doubling Cape Horn, to return to
the Australian seas of the Pacific. Ned Land had cause for fear. In
these large seas, void of islands, we could not attempt to leave the
boat. Nor had we any means of opposing Captain Nemo's will.
    Our only course was to submit; but what we could neither gain by
force nor cunning, I liked to think might be obtained by persuasion.
This voyage ended, would he not consent to restore our liberty,
under an oath never to reveal his existence? an oath of honor which we
should have religiously kept. But we must consider that delicate
question with the captain. But was I free to claim this liberty? Had
he not himself said from the beginning, in the firmest manner, that
the secret of his life exacted from him our lasting imprisonment on
board the Nautilus? And would not my four months' silence appear to
him a tacit acceptance of our situation? And would not a return to the
subject result in raising suspicions which might be hurtful to our
projects, if at some future time a favorable opportunity offered to
return to them?
    During the nineteen days mentioned above, no incident of any
note happened to signalize our voyage. I saw little of the captain; he
was at work. In the library I often found his books left open,
especially those on natural history. My work on submarine depths,
conned over by him, was covered with marginal notes, often
contradicting my theories and systems; but the captain contented
himself with thus purging my work; it was very rare for him to discuss
it with me. Sometimes I heard the melancholy tones of his organ; but
only at night, in the midst of the deepest obscurity, when the
Nautilus slept upon the deserted ocean. During this part of our voyage
we sailed whole days on the surface of the waves. The sea seemed
abandoned. A few sailing vessels, on the road to India, were making
for the Cape of Good Hope. One day we were followed by the boats of
a whaler, who, no doubt, took us for some enormous whale of great
price; but Captain Nemo did not wish the worthy fellows to lose
their time and trouble, so ended the chase by plunging under the
    Our navigation continued until March 13; that day the Nautilus was
employed in taking soundings, which greatly interested me. We had then
made about 13,000 leagues since our departure from the high seas of
the Pacific. The bearings gave us 45 degrees 37' south latitude, and
37 degrees 53' west longitude. It was the same water in which
Captain Denham of the Herald sounded 7,000 fathoms without finding the
bottom. There, too, Lieutenant Parker, of the American frigate
Congress, could not touch the bottom with 15,140 fathoms. Captain Nemo
intended seeking the bottom of the ocean by a diagonal sufficiently
lengthened by means of lateral planes placed at an angle of forty-five
degrees with the water line of the Nautilus. Then the screw set to
work at its maximum speed, its four blades beating the waves with
indescribable force. Under this powerful pressure, the hull of the
Nautilus quivered like a sonorous chord, and sank regularly under
the water.
    At 7,000 fathoms I saw some blackish tops rising from the midst of
the waters; but these summits might belong to high mountains like
the Himalayas or Mont Blanc, even higher; and the depth of the abyss
remained incalculable. The Nautilus descended still lower, in spite of
the great pressure. I felt the steel plates tremble at the
fastenings of the bolts; its bars bent, its partitions groaned; the
windows of the saloon seemed to curve under the pressure of the
waters. And this firm structure would doubtless have yielded, if, as
its captain said, it had not been capable of resistance like a solid
block. In skirting the declivity of these rocks, lost under the water,
I still saw some shells, some serpulae and spinorbes, still living,
and some specimens of asteriads. But soon this last representative
of animal life disappeared; and at the depth of more than three
leagues, the Nautilus had passed the limits of submarine existence
even as a balloon does when it rises above the respirable
atmosphere. We had attained a depth of 16,000 yards (four leagues),
and the sides of the Nautilus then bore a pressure of 1,600
atmospheres, that is to say, 3,200 pounds to each square two fifths of
an inch of its surface.
    "What a situation to be in!" I exclaimed. "To overrun these deep
regions where man has never trod! Look, Captain, look at these
magnificent rocks, these uninhabited grottoes, these lowest
receptacles of the globe, where life is no longer possible! What
unknown sights are here! Why should we be unable to preserve a
remembrance of them?"
    "Would you like to carry away more than the remembrance?" said
Captain Nemo.
    "What do you mean by those words?"
    "I mean to say that nothing is easier than to take a
photographic view of this submarine region."
    I had not time to express my surprise at this new proposition,
when, at Captain Nemo's call, an objective was brought into the
saloon. Through the widely opened panel, the liquid mass was bright
with electricity, which was distributed with such uniformity, that not
a shadow, not a gradation, was to be seen in our manufactured light.
The Nautilus remained motionless, the force of its screw subdued by
the inclination of its planes; the instrument was propped on the
bottom of the oceanic site, and in a few seconds we had obtained a
perfect negative. I here give the positive, from which may be seen
those primitive rocks, which have never looked upon the light of
heaven; that lowest granite which forms the foundation of the globe;
those deep grottoes, woven in the stony mass whose outlines were of
such sharpness, and the border line of which is marked in black, as if
done by the brush of some Flemish artist. Beyond that again, a horizon
of mountains, an admirable undulating line, forming the prospective of
the landscape. I cannot describe the effect of these smooth, black,
polished rocks, without moss, without a spot, and of strange forms,
standing solidly on the sandy carpet which sparkled under the jets
of our electric light.
    But the operation being over, Captain Nemo said, "Let us go up; we
must not abuse our position nor expose the Nautilus too long to such
great pressure."
    "Go up again!" I exclaimed.
    "Hold well on."
    I had not time to understand why the captain cautioned me thus,
when I was thrown forward on to the carpet. At a signal from the
captain, its screw was shipped, and its blades raised vertically;
the Nautilus shot into the air like a balloon, rising with stunning
rapidity, and cutting the mass of waters with a sonorous agitation.
Nothing was visible; and in four minutes it had shot through the four
leagues which separated it from the ocean, and, after emerging like a
flying fish, fell, making the waves rebound to an enormous height.
                          CHAPTER XII.

                      CACHALOTS AND WHALES.

    DURING the nights of March 13 and 14, the Nautilus returned to its
southerly course. I fancied that, when on a level with Cape Horn, he
would turn the helm westward, in order to beat the Pacific seas, and
so complete the tour of the world. He did nothing of the kind, but
continued on his way to the southern regions. Where was he going to?
to the pole? It was madness! I began to think that the captain's
temerity justified Ned Land's fears. For some time past the Canadian
had not spoken to me of his projects of flight; he was less
communicative, almost silent. I could see that this lengthened
imprisonment was weighing upon him, and I felt that rage was within
him. When he met the captain, his eyes lit up with suppressed anger;
and I feared that his natural violence would lead him into some
extreme. That day, March 14, Conseil and he came to me in my room. I
inquired the cause of their visit.
    "A simple question to ask you, Sir," replied the Canadian.
    "Speak, Ned."
    "How many men are there on board the Nautilus, do you think?"
    "I cannot tell, my friend."
    "I should say that its working does not require a large crew."
    "Certainly, under existing conditions, ten men, at the most, ought
to be enough."
    "Well, why should there be any more?"
    "Why?" I replied, looking fixedly at Ned Land, whose meaning was
easy to guess. "Because," I added, "if my surmises are correct, and if
I have well understood the captain's existence, the Nautilus is not
only a vessel; it is also a place of refuge for those who, like its
commander, have broken every tie upon earth."
    "Perhaps so," said Conseil; "but, in any case, the Nautilus can
only contain a certain number of men. Could not you, sir, estimate
their maximum?"
    "How, Conseil?"
    "By calculation; given the size of the vessel, which you know,
sir, and consequently, the quantity of air it contains, knowing also
how much each man expends at a breath, and comparing these results
with the fact that the Nautilus is obliged to go to the surface
every twenty-four hours."
    Conseil had not finished the sentence before I saw what he was
driving at.
    "I understand," said I; "but that calculation, though simple
enough, can give but a very uncertain result."
    "Never mind," said Ned Land, urgently.
    "Here it is, then," said I. "In one hour each man consumes the
oxygen contained in twenty gallons of air; and in twenty-four, that
contained in 480 gallons. We must, therefore, find how many times
480 gallons of air the Nautilus contains."
    "Just so," said Conseil.
    "Or," I continued, "the size of the Nautilus being 1,500 tons; and
one ton holding 200 gallons, it contains 300,000 gallons of air,
which, divided by 480, gives a quotient of 625. Which means to say,
strictly speaking, that the air contained in the Nautilus would
suffice for 625 men for twenty-four hours."
    "Six hundred twenty-five!" repeated Ned.
    "But remember, that all of us, passengers, sailors, and officers
included, would not form a tenth part of that number."
    "Still too many for three men," murmured Conseil.
    The Canadian shook his head, passed his hand across his
forehead, and left the room without answering.
    "Will you allow me to make one observation, Sir?" said Conseil.
"Poor Ned is longing for everything that he cannot have. His past life
is always present to him; everything that we are forbidden he regrets.
His head is full of old recollections. And we must understand him.
What had he to do here? Nothing; he is not learned like you, Sir;
and has not the same taste for the beauties of the sea that we have.
He would risk everything to be able to go once more into a tavern in
his own country."
    Certainly the monotony on board must seem intolerable to the
Canadian, accustomed as he was to a life of liberty and activity.
Events were rare which could rouse him to any show of spirit; but that
day an event did happen which recalled the bright days of the
harpooner. About eleven in the morning, being on the surface of the
ocean, the Nautilus fell in with a troop of whales- an encounter which
did not astonish me, knowing that these creatures hunted to the death,
had taken refuge in high latitudes.
    We were seated on the platform, with a quiet sea. The month of
October in those latitudes gave us some lovely autumnal days. It was
the Canadian- he could not be mistaken- who signaled a whale on the
eastern horizon. Looking attentively one might see its black back rise
and fall with the waves five miles from the Nautilus.
    "Ah!" exclaimed Ned Land, "if I was on board a whaler now, such
a meeting would give me pleasure. It is one of large size. See with
what strength its blowholes throw up columns of air and steam!
Confound it, why am I bound to these steel plates?"
    "What, Ned," said I, "you have not forgotten your old ideas of
    "Can a whaler ever forget his old trade, Sir? Can he ever tire
of the emotions caused by such a chase?"
    "You have never fished in these seas, Ned?"
    "Never, Sir; in the northern only, and as much in Bering as in
Davis Straits."
    "Then the southern whale is still unknown to you. It is the
Greenland whale you have hunted up to this time, and that would not
risk passing through the warm waters of the equator. Whales are.
localized, according to their kinds, in certain seas which they
never leave. And if one of these creatures went from Bering to Davis
Straits, it must be simply because there is a passage from one sea
to the other, either on the American or the Asiatic side."
    "In that case, as I have never fished in these seas, I do not know
the kind of whale frequenting them."
    "I have told you, Ned."
    "A greater reason for making their acquaintance," said Conseil.
    "Look! look!" exclaimed the Canadian, "they approach; they
aggravate me; they know that I cannot get at them!"
    Ned stamped his feet. His hand trembled, as he grasped an
imaginary harpoon.
    "Are these cetacea as large as those of the northern seas?"
asked he.
    "Very nearly, Ned."
    "Because I have seen large whales, Sir, whales measuring a hundred
feet. I have even been told that those of Hullamoch and Umgallick,
of the Aleutian Islands, are sometimes a hundred fifty feet long."
    "That seems to me exaggeration. These creatures are only
balaenopterons, provided with dorsal fins; and, like the cachalots,
are generally much smaller than the Greenland whale."
    "Ah!" exclaimed the Canadian, whose eyes had never left the ocean,
"they are coming nearer; they are in the same water as the Nautilus!"
    Then, returning to the conversation, he said:
    "You spoke of the cachalot as a small creature. I have heard of
gigantic ones. They are intelligent cetacea. It is said of some that
they cover themselves with seaweed and fucus, and then are taken for
islands. People encamp upon them, and settle there; light a fire"-
    "And build houses," said Conseil.
    "Yes, joker," said Ned Land. "And one fine day the creature
plunges, carrying with it all the inhabitants to the bottom of the
    "Something like the travels of Sinbad the Sailor," I replied,
    "Ah!" suddenly exclaimed Ned Land, "it is not one whale; there are
ten- there are twenty- it is a whole troop! And I not able to do
anything! hands and feet tied!"
    "But, friend Ned," said Conseil, "why do you not ask Captain
Nemo's permission to chase them?"
    Conseil had not finished his sentence when Ned Land lowered
himself through the panel to seek the captain. A few minutes afterward
the two appeared together on the platform.
    Captain Nemo watched the troop of cetacea playing on the waters
about a mile from the Nautilus.
    "They are southern whales," said he; "there goes the fortune of
a whole fleet of whalers."
    "Well, sir," asked the Canadian, "can I not chase them, if only to
remind me of my old trade of harpooner?"
    "And to what purpose?" replied Captain Nemo; "only to destroy!
We have nothing to do with whale oil on board."
    "But, Sir," continued the Canadian, "in the Red Sea you allowed us
to follow the dugong."
    "Then it was to procure fresh meat for my crew. Here it would be
killing for killing's sake. I know that is a privilege reserved for
men, but I do not approve of such murderous pastime. In destroying the
southern whale (like the Greenland whale, an inoffensive creature),
your traders do a culpable action, Master Land. They have already
depopulated the whole of Baffin's Bay, and are annihilating a class of
useful animals. Leave the unfortunate cetacea alone. They have
plenty of natural enemies, cachalots, swordfish, and sawfish,
without your troubling them."
    The captain was right. The barbarous and inconsiderate greed of
these fishermen will one day cause the disappearance of the last whale
in the ocean. Ned Land whistled "Yankee-Doodle" between his teeth,
thrust his hands into his pockets, and turned his back upon us. But
Captain Nemo watched the troop of cetacea, and, addressing me, said:
    "I was right in saying that whales had natural enemies enough,
without counting man. These will have plenty to do before long. Do you
see, M. Aronnax, about eight miles to leeward, those blackish moving
    "Yes, Captain," I replied.
    "Those are cachalots- terrible animals, which I have sometimes met
in troops of two or three hundred. As to those, they are cruel
mischievous creatures; they would be right in exterminating them."
    The Canadian turned quickly at the last words.
    "Well, Captain," said he, "it is still time, in the interest of
the whales."
    "It is useless to expose oneself, Professor. The Nautilus will
disperse them. It is armed with a steel spur as good as Master
Land's harpoon, I imagine."
    The Canadian did not put himself out enough to shrug his
shoulders. Attack cetacea with blows of a spur! Who had ever heard
of such a thing?
    "Wait, M. Aronnax," said Captain Nemo. "We will show you something
you have never yet seen. We have no pity for these ferocious
creatures. They are nothing but mouth and teeth."
    Mouth and teeth! No one could better describe the macrocephalous
cachalot, which is sometimes more than seventy-five feet long. Its
enormous head occupies one-third of its entire body. Better armed than
the whale, whose upper jaw is furnished only with whalebone, it is
supplied with twenty-five large tusks, about eight inches long,
cylindrical and conical at the top, each weighing two pounds. It is in
the upper part of this enormous head, in great cavities divided by
cartilages, that is to be found from six to eight hundred pounds of
that precious oil called spermaceti. The cachalot is a disagreeable
creature, more tadpole than fish, according to Fredol's description.
It is badly formed, the whole of its left side being (if we may say
it) a "failure," and being only able to see with its right eye.
    But the formidable troop was nearing us. They had seen the
whales and were preparing to attack them. One could judge beforehand
that the cachalots would be victorious, not only because they were
better built for attack than their inoffensive adversaries, but also
because they could remain longer under water without coming to the
surface. There was only just time to go to the help of the whales. The
Nautilus went under water. Conseil, Ned Land, and I took our places
before the window in the saloon, and Captain Nemo joined the pilot
in his cage to work his apparatus as an engine of destruction. Soon
I felt the beatings of the screw quicken, and our speed increased.
    The battle between the cachalots and the whales had already
begun when the Nautilus arrived. They, did not at first show any
fear at the sight of this new monster joining in the conflict. But
they soon had to guard against its blows. What a battle! The
Nautilus was nothing but a formidable harpoon, brandished by the
hand of its captain. It hurled itself against the fleshy mass, passing
through from one part to the other, leaving behind it two quivering
halves of the animal. It could not feel the formidable blows from
their tails upon its sides, nor the shock which it produced itself,
much more. One cachalot killed, it ran at the next, tacked on the spot
that it might not miss its prey, going forward and backward, answering
to its helm, plunging when the cetacean dived into the deep waters,
coming up with it when it returned to the surface, striking it front
or sideways, cutting or tearing in all directions, and at any pace,
piercing it with its terrible spur. What carnage! What a noise on
the surface of the waves! What sharp hissing, and what snorting
peculiar to these enraged animals! In the midst of these waters,
generally so peaceful, their tails made perfect billows.
    For one hour this wholesale massacre continued, from which the
cachalots could not escape. Several times ten or twelve united tried
to crush the Nautilus by their weight. From the window we could see
their enormous mouths, studded with tusks, and their formidable
eyes. Ned Land could not contain himself, he threatened and swore at
them. We could feel them clinging to our vessel like dogs worrying a
wild boar in a copse. But the Nautilus, working its screw, carried
them here and there, or to the upper levels of the ocean, without
caring for their enormous weight, nor the powerful strain on the
vessel. At length, the mass of cachalots broke up, the waves became
quiet, and I felt that we were rising to the surface. The panel
opened, and we hurried on to the platform. The sea was covered with
mutilated bodies. A formidable explosion could not have divided and
torn this fleshy mass with more violence. We were floating amid
gigantic bodies, bluish on the back and white underneath, covered with
enormous protuberances. Some terrified cachalots were flying toward
the horizon. The waves were dyed red for several miles, and the
Nautilus floated in a sea of blood. Captain Nemo joined us.
    "Well, Master Land?" said he.
    "Well, Sir," replied the Canadian, whose enthusiasm had somewhat
calmed; "it is a terrible spectacle, certainly. But I am not a
butcher. I am a hunter, and I call this a butchery."
    "It is a massacre of mischievous creatures," replied the
captain; "and the Nautilus is not a butcher's knife."
    "I like my harpoon better," said the Canadian.
    "Everyone to his own," answered the captain, looking fixedly at
Ned Land.
    I feared he would commit some act of violence, which would end
in sad consequences. But his anger was turned by the sight of a
whale which the Nautilus had just come up with. The creature had not
quite escaped from the cachalot's teeth. I recognized the southern
whale by its flat head, which is entirely black. Anatomically, it is
distinguished from the white whale and the North Cape whale by the
seven cervical vertebrae, and it has two more ribs than its congeners.
The unfortunate cetacean was lying on its side, riddled with holes
from the bites, and quite dead. From its mutilated fin still hung a
young whale, which it could not save from the massacre. Its open mouth
let the water flow in and out, murmuring like the waves breaking on
the shore.
    Captain Nemo steered close to the corpse of the creature. Two of
his men mounted its side, and I saw, not without surprise, that they
were drawing from its breasts all the milk which they contained,
that is to say, about two or three tons. The captain offered me a
cup of the milk, which was still warm. I could not help showing my
repugnance, to the drink; but he assured me that it was excellent, and
not to be distinguished from cow's milk. I tasted it, and was of his
opinion. It was a useful reserve to us, for in the shape of salt
butter or cheese it would form an agreeable variety from our
ordinary food. From that day I noticed with uneasiness that Ned Land's
ill will toward Captain Nemo increased, and I resolved to watch the
Canadian's gestures closely.
                          CHAPTER XIII.

                          THE ICEBERG.

    THE Nautilus was steadily pursuing its southerly course, following
the fiftieth meridian with considerable speed. Did he wish to reach.
the pole? I did not think so, for every attempt to reach that point
had hitherto failed. Again the season was far advanced, for, in the
antarctic regions, March 13 corresponds with September 13 of
northern regions, which begin at the equinoctial season. On March 14 I
saw floating ice in latitude 55 degrees, merely pale bits of debris
from twenty to twenty-five feet long, forming banks over which the sea
curled. The Nautilus remained on the surface of the ocean. Ned Land,
who had fished in the arctic seas, was familiar with its icebergs: but
Conseil and I admired them for the first time. In the atmosphere
toward the southern horizon stretched a white dazzling band. English
whalers have given it the name of "ice blink." However thick the
clouds may be, it is always visible, and announces the presence of
an ice pack or bank. Accordingly, larger blocks soon appeared, whose
brilliancy changed with the caprices of the fog. Some of these
masses showed green veins, as if long, undulating lines had been
traced with sulphate of copper; others resembled enormous amethysts
with the light shining through them. Some reflected the light of day
upon a thousand crystal facets. Others shaded with vivid calcareous
reflections resembled a perfect town of marble. The more we neared the
south, the more these floating islands, increased both in number and
    At the sixtieth degree of latitude, every pass had disappeared.
But seeking carefully, Captain Nemo soon found a narrow opening,
through which he boldly slipped, knowing, however, that it would close
behind him. Thus, guided by this clever hand, the Nautilus passed
through all the ice with a precision which quite charmed Conseil;
icebergs or mountains, ice fields or smooth plains, seeming to have no
limits, drift ice or floating ice, packs, plains broken up, called
palchs when they are circular, and streams when they are made up of
long strips. The temperature was very low; the thermometer exposed
to the air marked two or three degrees below zero, but we were
warmly clad with fur, at the expense of the sea bear and seal. The
interior of the Nautilus, warmed regularly by its electric
apparatus, defied the most intense cold. Besides, it would only have
been necessary to go some yards beneath the waves to find a more
bearable temperature. Two months earlier we should have had
perpetual daylight in these latitudes; but already we had three or
four hours of night, and by and by there would be six months of
darkness in these circumpolar regions. On March 15 we were in the
latitude of New Shetland and South Orkney. The captain told me that
formerly numerous tribes of seals inhabited them; but that English and
American whalers, in their rage for destruction, massacred both old
and young; thus where there was once life and animation, they had left
silence and death.
    About eight o'clock in the morning of March 16 the Nautilus,
following the fifty-fifth meridian, cut the antarctic polar circle.
Ice surrounded us on all sides, and closed the horizon. But Captain
Nemo went from one opening to another, still going higher. I cannot
express my astonishment at the beauties of these new regions. The
ice took most surprising forms. Here the grouping formed an Oriental
town, with innumerable mosques and minarets; there a fallen city
thrown to the earth, as it were, by some convulsion of nature. The
whole aspect was constantly changed by the oblique rays of the sun, or
lost in the grayish fog amidst hurricanes of snow. Detonations and
falls were heard on all sides, great overthrows of icebergs, which
altered the whole landscape like a diorama. Often seeing no exit, I
thought we were definitely prisoners; but instinct guiding him at
the slightest indication, Captain Nemo would discover a new pass. He
was never mistaken when he saw the thin threads of bluish water
trickling along the ice fields; and I had no doubt that he had already
ventured into the midst of these antarctic seas before.
    On March 16, however, the ice fields absolutely blocked our
road. It was not the iceberg itself, as yet, but vast fields
cemented by the cold. But this obstacle could not stop Captain Nemo;
he hurled himself against it with frightful violence. The Nautilus
entered the brittle mass like a wedge, and split it with frightful
crackings. It was the battering-ram of the ancients hurled by infinite
strength. The ice, thrown high in the air, fell like hail around us.
By its own power of impulsion our apparatus made a canal for itself;
sometimes carried away by its own impetus it lodged on the ice
field, crushing it with its weight, and sometimes buried beneath it,
dividing it by a simple pitching movement, producing large rents in
    Violent gales assailed us at this time, accompanied by thick fogs,
through which, from one end of the platform to the other, we could see
nothing. The wind blew sharply from all points of the compass, and the
snow lay in such hard heaps that we had to break it with blows of a
pickax. The temperature was always at five degrees below zero; every
outward part of the Nautilus was covered with ice. A rigged vessel
could never have worked its way there, for all the rigging would
have been entangled in the blocked-up gorges. A vessel without
sails, with electricity for its motive power, and wanting no coal,
could alone brave such high latitudes. At length, on March 18, after
many useless assaults, the Nautilus was positively blocked. It was
no longer either streams, packs, or ice fields, but an interminable
and immovable barrier, formed by mountains soldered together.
    "An iceberg!" said the Canadian to me.
    I knew that to Ned Land, as well as to all other navigators who
had preceded us, this was an inevitable obstacle. The sun appearing
for an instant at noon, Captain Nemo took an observation as near as
possible which gave our situation at 51 degrees 30' longitude and 67
degrees 39' of south latitude. We had advanced one degree more in this
antarctic region. Of the liquid surface of the sea there was no longer
a glimpse. Under the spur of the Nautilus lay stretched a vast
plain, entangled with confused blocks. Here and there sharp points,
and slender needles rising to a height of two hundred feet; farther on
a steep shore, hewn as it were with an ax, and clothed with grayish
tints; huge mirrors, reflecting a few rays of sunshine half drowned in
the fog. And over this desolate face of Nature a stern silence
reigned, scarcely broken by the flapping of the wings of petrels and
puffins. Everything was frozen- even the noise. The Nautilus was
then obliged to stop in its adventurous course amid these fields of
ice. In spite of our efforts in spite of the powerful means employed
to break up the ice, the Nautilus remained immovable. Generally,
when we can proceed no farther, we have return still open to us; but
here return was as impossible as advance, for every pass had closed
behind us; and for the few moments when we were stationary, we were
likely to be entirely blocked, which did, indeed, happen about two
o'clock in the afternoon, the fresh ice forming around its sides
with astonishing rapidity. I was obliged to admit that Captain Nemo
was more than imprudent. I was on the platform at that moment. The
captain had been observing our situation for some time past, when he
said to me:
    "Well, Sir, what do you think of this?"
    "I think that we are caught, Captain."
    "So, M. Aronnax, you really think that the Nautilus cannot
disengage itself?"
    "With difficulty, Captain; for the season is already too far
advanced for you to reckon on the breaking up of the ice."
    "Ah! Sir," said Captain Nemo, in an ironical tone, "you will
always be the same. You see nothing but difficulties and obstacles.
I affirm that not only can the Nautilus disengage itself, but also
that it can go farther still."
    "Farther to the south?" I asked, looking at the captain.
    "Yes, Sir; it shall go to the Pole."
    "To the Pole!" I exclaimed, unable to repress a gesture of
    "Yes," replied the captain, coldly, "to the Antarctic Pole- to
that unknown point whence springs every meridian of the globe. You
know whether I can do as I please with the Nautilus!"
    Yes, I knew that. I knew that this man was bold, even to rashness.
But to conquer those obstacles which bristled round the South Pole,
rendering it more inaccessible than the north, which had not yet
been reached by the boldest navigators- was it not a mad enterprise,
one which only a maniac would have conceived? It then came into my
head to ask Captain Nemo if he had ever discovered that pole which had
never yet been trodden by a human creature? "No, sir," he replied;
"but we will discover it together. Where others have failed, I will
not fail. I have never yet led my Nautilus so far into southern
seas; but, I repeat, it shall go farther yet."
    "I can well believe you, Captain," said I, in a slightly
ironical tone. "I believe you! Let us go ahead! There are no obstacles
for us! Let us smash this iceberg! Let us blow it up; and if it
resists, let us give the Nautilus wings to fly over it!"
    "Over it, sir!" said Captain Nemo, quietly; "no, not over it,
but under it!"
    "Under it!" I exclaimed, a sudden idea of the captain's projects
flashing upon my mind. I understood; the wonderful qualities of the
Nautilus were going to serve us in this superhuman enterprise.
    "I see we are beginning to understand each other, Sir," said the
captain, half smiling. "You begin to see the possibility- I should say
the success- of this attempt. That which is impossible for an ordinary
vessel, is easy to the Nautilus. If a continent lies before the
Pole, it must stop before the continent; but if, on the contrary,
the pole is washed by open sea, it will go even to the Pole."
    "Certainly," said I, carried away by the captain's reasoning;
"if the surface of the sea is solidified by the ice, the lower
depths are free by the providential law which has placed the maximum
of density of the waters of the ocean one degree higher than
freezing point; and, if I am not mistaken, the portion of this iceberg
which is above the water, is as four to one to that which is below"
    "Very nearly, Sir; for one foot of iceberg above the sea there are
three below it. If these ice mountains are not more than 300 feet
above the surface, they are not more than 900 beneath. And what are
900 feet to the Nautilus?"
    "Nothing, Sir."
    "It could even seek at greater depths that uniform temperature
of sea water, and there brave with impunity the thirty or forty
degrees of surface cold."
    "Just so, Sir- just so," I replied, getting animated.
    "The only difficulty," continued Captain Nemo, "is that of
remaining several days without renewing our provision of air."
    "Is that all? The Nautilus has vast reservoirs; we can fill
them, and they will supply us with all the oxygen we want."
    "Well thought of, M. Aronnax," replied the captain, smiling.
"But not wishing you to accuse me of rashness, I will first give you
all my objections."
    "Have you any more to make?"
    "Only one. It is possible, if the sea exists at the South Pole,
that it may be covered; and, consequently, we shall be unable to
come to the surface."
    "Good, Sir! but do you forget that the Nautilus is armed with a
powerful spur, and could we not send it diagonally against these
fields of ice, which would open at the shock?"
    "Ah, Sir, you are full of ideas today."
    "Besides, Captain," I added, enthusiastically, "why should we
not find the sea open at the South Pole as well as at the North? The
frozen poles and the poles of the earth do not coincide, either in the
southern or in the northern regions; and, until it is proved to the
contrary, we may suppose either a continent or an ocean free from
ice at these two points of the globe."
    "I think so too, M. Aronnax," replied Captain Nemo. "I only wish
you to observe that, after having made so many objections to my
project, you are now crushing me with arguments in its favor!"
    The preparations for this audacious attempt now began. The
powerful pumps of the Nautilus were working air into the reservoirs
and storing it at high pressure. About four o'clock, Captain Nemo
announced the closing of the panels on the platform. I threw one
last look at the massive iceberg which we were going to cross. The
weather was clear, the atmosphere pure enough, the cold very great,
being twelve degrees below zero; but the wind having gone down, this
temperature was not so unbearable. About ten men mounted the sides
of the Nautilus, armed with pickaxes to break the ice around the
vessel, which was soon free. The operation was quickly performed,
for the fresh ice was still very thin. We all went below. The usual
reservoirs were filled with the newly liberated water, and the
Nautilus soon descended. I had taken my place with Conseil in the
saloon; through the open window we could see the lower beds of the
southern ocean. The thermometer went up, the needle of the compass
deviated on the dial. At about nine hundred feet, as Captain Nemo
had forseen, we were floating beneath the undulating bottom of the
iceberg. But the Nautilus went lower still- it went to the depths of
four hundred fathoms. The temperature of the water at the surface
showed twelve degrees, it was now only eleven; we had gained two. I
need not say the temperature of the Nautilus was raised by its heating
apparatus to a much higher degree; every maneuver was accomplished
with wonderful precision.
    "We shall pass it, if you please, Sir," said Conseil.
    "I believe we shall," I said, in a tone of firm conviction.
    In this open sea, the Nautilus had taken its course direct to
the pole, without leaving the fifty-second meridian. From 67 degrees
30' to 90 degrees, twenty-two degrees and a half of latitude
remained to travel; that is, about five hundred leagues. The
Nautilus kept up a mean speed of twenty-six miles an hour- the speed
of an express train. If that was kept up, in forty hours we should
reach the Pole.
    For a part of the night the novelty of the situation kept us at
the window. The sea was lit with the electric lantern; but it was
deserted; fishes did not sojourn in these imprisoned waters; they
found there only a passage to take them from the Antarctic Ocean to
the open polar sea. Our pace was rapid; we could feel it by the
quivering of the long steel body. About two in the morning, I took
some hours' repose, and Conseil did the same. In crossing the waist
I did not meet Captain Nemo: I supposed him to be in the pilot's cage.
The next morning, March 19, I took my post once more in the saloon.
The electric log told me that the speed of the Nautilus had been
slackened. It was then going toward the surface; but prudently
emptying its reservoirs very slowly. My heart beat fast. Were we going
to emerge and regain the open polar atmosphere? No! A shock told me
that the Nautilus had struck the bottom of the iceberg, still very
thick, judging from the deadened sound. We had indeed "struck," to use
a sea expression, but in an inverse sense, and at a thousand feet
deep. This would give three thousand feet of ice above us; one
thousand being above the watermark. The iceberg was then higher than
at its borders- not a very reassuring fact.
    Several times that day the Nautilus tried again, and every time it
struck the wall which lay like a ceiling above it. Sometimes it met
with but nine hundred yards, only two hundred of which rose above
the surface. It was twice the height it was when the Nautilus had gone
under the waves. I carefully noted the different depths, and thus
obtained a submarine profile of the chain as it was developed under
the water. That night no change had taken place in our situation.
Still ice between four and five hundred yards in depth It was
evidently diminishing, but still what a thickness between us and the
surface of the ocean It was then eight. According to the daily
custom on board the Nautilus, its air should have been renewed four
hours ago; but I did not suffer much, although Captain Nemo had not
yet made any demand upon his reserve of oxygen. My sleep was painful
that night; hope and fear besieged me by turns: I rose several
times. The groping of the Nautilus continued. About three in the
morning, I noticed that the lower surface of the iceberg was only
about fifty feet deep. One hundred fifty feet now separated us from
the surface of the waters. The iceberg was by degrees becoming an
ice field, the mountain a plain. My eyes never left the manometer.
We were still rising diagonally to the surface, which sparkled under
the electric rays. The iceberg was stretching both above and beneath
into lengthening slopes; mile after mile it was getting thinner. At
length, at six in the morning of that memorable day, March 19, the
door of the saloon opened, and Captain Nemo appeared.
    "The sea is open!" was all he said.
                          CHAPTER XIV.

                         THE SOUTH POLE.

    I RUSHED on the platform. Yes! the open sea, with but a few
scattered pieces of ice and moving icebergs- a long stretch of sea;
a world of birds in the air, and myriads of fishes under those waters,
which varied from intense blue to olive green, according to the
bottom. The thermometer marked three degrees centigrade above zero. It
was comparatively spring, shut up as we were behind this iceberg,
whose lengthened mass was dimly seen on our northern horizon.
    "Are we at the Pole?" I asked the captain, with a beating heart.
    "I do not know," he replied. "At noon I will take our bearings."
    "But will the sun show himself through this fog?" said I,
looking at the leaden sky.
    "However little it shows, it will be enough," replied the captain.
    About ten miles south, a solitary island rose to a height of one
hundred four yards. We made for it, but carefully, for the sea might
be strewn with banks. One hour afterward we had reached it, two
hours later we had made the round of it. It measured four or five
miles in circumference. A narrow canal separated it from a
considerable stretch of land, perhaps a continent, for we could not
see its limits. The existence of this land seemed to give some color
to Maury's hypothesis. The ingenious American has remarked, that
between the south pole and the sixtieth parallel, the sea is covered
with floating ice of enormous size, which is never met with in the
North Atlantic. From this fact he has drawn the conclusion that the
antarctic circle incloses considerable continents, as icebergs
cannot form in open sea, but only on the coasts. According to these
calculations, the mass of ice surrounding the South Pole forms a
vast cap, the circumference of which must be, at least, 2,500 miles.
But the Nautilus, for fear of running aground, had stopped about three
cables' length from a strand over which reared a superb heap of rocks.
The boat was launched; the captain, two of his men bearing
instruments, Conseil, and myself, were in it. It was ten in the
morning. I had not seen Ned Land. Doubtless the Canadian did not
wish to admit the presence of the south pole. A few strokes of the oar
brought us to the sand, where we ran ashore. Conseil was going to jump
on to the land, when I held him back.
    "Sir," said I to Captain Nemo, "to you belongs the honor of
first setting foot on this land."
    "Yes, Sir," said the captain; "and if I do not hesitate to tread
this South Pole, it is because, up to this time, no human being has
left a trace there."
    Saying this, he jumped lightly on to the sand. His heart beat with
emotion. He climbed a rock, sloping to a little promontory, and there,
with his arms crossed, mute and motionless, and with an eager look, he
seemed to take possession of these southern regions. After five
minutes passed in this ecstasy, he turned to us.
    "When you like, Sir."
    I landed, followed by Conseil, leaving the two men in the boat.
For a long way the soil was composed of a reddish, sandy stone,
something like crushed brick, scoriae, streams of lava, and pumice
stones. One could not mistake its volcanic origin. In some parts,
slight curls of smoke emitted a sulphurous smell, proving that the
eternal fires had lost nothing of their expansive powers though,
having climbed a high acclivity, I could see no volcano for a radius
of several miles. We know that in those antarctic countries, James
Ross found two craters. the Erebus and Terror, in full activity, on
meridian 167, latitude 77 degrees 32'. The vegetation of this desolate
continent seemed to me much restricted. Some lichens of the species
unsnea melanoxantha lay upon the black rocks; some microscopic plants,
rudimentary diatomas, a kind of cells, placed between two quartz
shells; long purple and scarlet fucus, supported on little swimming
bladders, which the breaking of the waves brought to the shore.
These constituted the meager flora of this region. The shore was
strewn with mollusks, little mussels, limpets, smooth bucards in the
shape of a heart, and particularly some clios, with oblong
membranous bodies, the head of which was formed of two rounded
lobes. I also saw myriads of northern clios, one and a quarter
inches long, of which a whale would swallow a whole world at a
mouthful; and some charming pteropods, perfect sea butterflies,
animating the waters on the skirts of the shore.
    Amongst other zoophytes, there appeared on the high bottoms some
coral shrubs, of that kind which, according to James Ross live in
the antarctic seas to the depth of more than 1,000 yards. Then there
were little kingfishers, belonging to the species procellaria
pelagica, as well as a large number of asteriads, peculiar to these
climates, and starfish studding the soil. But where life abounded most
was in the air. There thousands of birds fluttered and flew of all
kinds, deafening us with their cries; others crowded the rocks,
looking at us as we passed by without fear, and pressing familiarly
close by our feet. There were penguins, so agile in the water, that
they have been taken for the rapid bonitos, heavy and awkward as
they are on the ground; they were uttering harsh cries, a large
assembly, sober in gesture, but extravagant in clamor. Among the birds
I noticed the chionis, of the long-legged family, as large as pigeons,
white, with a short conical beak, and the eye framed in a red
circle. Conseil laid in a stock of them, for these winged creatures,
properly prepared, made an agreeable meat. Albatrosses passed in the
air (the expanse of their wings being at least four yards and a half),
and justly called the vultures of the ocean; some gigantic petrels,
and some damiers, a kind of small duck, the under part of whose body
is black and white; then there were a whole series of petrels, some
whitish, with brown-bordered wings, others blue, peculiar to the
antarctic seas, and so oily, as I told Conseil, that the inhabitants
of the Faroe Islands had nothing to do before lighting them, but to
put a wick in.
    "A little more," said Conseil, "and they would be perfect lamps!
After that, we cannot expect Nature to have previously furnished
them with wicks!"
    About half a mile, farther on, the soil. was riddled with ruffs'
nests, a sort of laying ground, out of which many birds were
issuing. Captain Nemo had some hundreds hunted. They uttered a cry
like the braying of an ass, were about the size of a goose, slate
color on the body, white beneath, with a yellow line round their
throats; they allowed themselves to be killed with a stone, never
trying to escape. But the fog did not lift, and at eleven the sun
had not yet shown itself. Its absence made me uneasy. Without it no
observations were possible. How then could we decide whether we had
reached the pole? When I rejoined Captain Nemo, I found him leaning on
a piece of rock, silently watching the sky. He seemed impatient and
vexed. But what was to be done? This rash and powerful man could not
command the sun as he did the sea. Noon arrived without the orb of day
showing itself for an instant. We could not even tell its position
behind the curtain of fog; and soon the fog turned to snow.
    "Till tomorrow," said the Captain, quietly, and we returned to the
Nautilus amid these atmospheric disturbances.
    The tempest of snow continued till the next day. It was impossible
to remain on the platform. From the saloon, where I was taking notes
of incidents happening during this excursion to the polar continent, I
could hear the cries of petrels and albatrosses sporting in the
midst of this violent storm. The Nautilus did not remain motionless,
but skirted the coast, advancing ten miles more to the south in the
half light left by the sun as it skirted the edge of the horizon.
The next day, March 20, the snow had ceased. The cold was a little
greater, the thermometer showing two degrees below zero. The fog was
rising, and I hoped that that day our observations might be taken.
Captain Nemo not having yet appeared, the boat took Conseil and myself
to land. The soil was still of the same volcanic nature; everywhere
were traces of lava, scoriae, and basalt; but the crater which had
vomited them I could not see. Here, as lower down, this continent
was alive with myriads of birds. But their rule was now divided with
large troops of sea mammals, looking at us with their soft eyes. There
were several kinds of seals, some stretched on the earth, some on
flakes of ice, many going in and out of the sea. They did not flee
at our approach, never having had anything to do with man; and I
reckoned that there were provisions there for hundreds of vessels.
    "Sir," said Conseil, "will you tell me the names of these
    "They are seals and morses."
    It was now eight in the morning. Four hours remained to us
before the sun could be observed with advantage. I directed our
steps toward a vast bay cut in the steep granite shore. There, I can
aver that earth and ice were lost to sight by the numbers of sea
mammals covering them, and I involuntarily sought for old Proteus, the
mythological shepherd who watched these immense flocks of Neptune.
There were more seals than anything else, forming distinct groups,
male and female, the father watching over his family, the mother
suckling her little ones, some already strong enough to go a few
steps. When they wished to change their place, they took little jumps,
made by the contraction of their bodies, and helped awkwardly enough
by their imperfect fin, which, as with the lamantin, their congener,
forms a perfect forearm. I should say that, in the water, which is
their element- the spine of these creatures is flexible- with smooth
and close skin and webbed feet, they swim admirably. In resting on the
earth they take the most graceful attitudes. Thus the ancients,
observing their soft and expressive looks, which cannot be surpassed
by the most beautiful look a woman can give, their clear voluptuous
eyes, their charming positions, and the poetry of their manners,
metamorphosed them, the male into a triton and the female into a
    I made Conseil notice the considerable development of the lobes of
the brain in these interesting cetaceans. No mammal, except man, has
such a quantity of cerebral matter; they are also capable of receiving
a certain amount of education, are easily domesticated, and I think,
with other naturalists, that, if properly taught, they would be of
great service as fishing dogs. The greater part of them slept on the
rocks or on the sand. Among these seals, properly so called, which
have no external ears (in which they differ from the otter, whose ears
are prominent), I noticed several varieties of stenorhynchi about
three yards long, with a white coat, bulldog heads, armed with teeth
in both jaws, four incisors at the top and four at the bottom, and two
large canine teeth in the shape of a "fleur de lis." Among them glided
sea elephants, a kind of seal, with short flexible trunks. The
giants of this species measured twenty feet round, and ten yards and a
half in length; but they did not move as we approached.
    "These creatures are not dangerous?" asked Conseil.
    "No; not unless you attack them. When they have to defend their
young, their rage is terrible, and it is not uncommon for them to
break the fishing boats to pieces."
    "They are quite right," said Conseil.
    "I do not say they are not."
    Two miles farther on we were stopped by the promontory. which
shelters the bay from the southerly winds. Beyond it we heard loud
bellowings such as a troop of ruminants would produce.
    "Good!" said Conseil; "a concert of bulls!"
    "No; a concert of morses."
    "They are fighting!"
    "They are either fighting or playing."
    We now began to climb the blackish rocks, amid unforeseen
stumbles, and over stones which the ice made slippery. More than
once I rolled over at the expense of my loins. Conseil, more prudent
or more steady, did not stumble, and helped me up, saying:
    "If, Sir, you would have the kindness to take wider steps, you
would preserve your equilibrium better."
    Arrived at the upper ridge of the promontory, I saw a vast white
plain covered with morses. They were playing among themselves, and
what we heard were bellowings of pleasure, not of anger.
    As I passed near these curious animals, I could examine them
leisurely, for they did not move. Their skins were thick and rugged,
of a yellowish tint, approaching to red, their hair was short and
scant. Some of them were four yards and a quarter long. Quieter, and
less timid than their congeners of the north, they did not, like them,
place sentinels round the outskirts of their encampment. After
examining this city of morses, I began to think of returning. It was
eleven o'clock, and if Captain Nemo found the conditions favorable for
observations, I wished to be present at the operation.
    We followed a narrow pathway running along the summit of the steep
shore. At half after eleven we had reached the place where we
landed. The boat had run aground bringing the captain. I saw him
standing on a block of basalt, his instruments near him, his eyes
fixed on the northern horizon, near which the was then describing a
lengthened curve. I took my place beside him, and waited without
speaking. Noon arrived, and, as before, the sun did not appear. It was
a fatality. Observations were still wanting. If not accomplished
tomorrow, we must give up all idea of taking any. We were indeed
exactly at the twentieth of March. Tomorrow, the twenty-first, would
be the equinox; the sun would disappear behind the horizon for six
months, and with its disappearance the long polar night would begin.
Since the September equinox it had emerged from the northern
horizon, rising by lengthened spirals up to December 21. At this
period, the summer solstice of the southern regions, it had begun to
descend and tomorrow was to shed its last rays upon them. I
communicated my fears and observations to Captain Nemo.
    "You are right, M. Aronnax," said he; "if tomorrow I cannot take
the altitude of the sun, I shall not be able to do it for six
months. But precisely because chance has led me into these seas on
March 21, my bearings will be easy to take, if at twelve we can see
the sun."
    "Why, Captain?"
    "Because then the orb of day describes such lengthened curves,
that it is difficult to measure exactly its height above the
horizon, and grave errors may be made with instruments."
    "What will you do then?"
    "I shall only use my chronometer," replied Captain Nemo. "If
tomorrow, March 21, the disk of the sun, allowing for refraction, is
exactly cut by the northern horizon, it will show that I am at the
South Pole."
    "Just so," said I. "But this statement is not mathematically
correct, because the equinox does not necessarily begin at noon."
    "Very likely, Sir; but the error will not be a hundred yards,
and we do not want more. Till tomorrow then!"
    Captain Nemo returned on board. Conseil and I remained to survey
the shore, observing and studying until five o'clock. Then I went to
bed, not, however, without invoking, like the Indian, the favor of the
radiant orb. The next day, March 21, at five in the morning, I mounted
the platform. I found Captain Nemo there.
    "The weather is lightening a little," said he. "I have some
hope. After breakfast we will go on shore, and choose a post for
    That point settled, I sought Ned Land. I wanted to take him with
me. But the obstinate Canadian refused, and I saw that his taciturnity
and his bad humor grew day by day. After all I was. not sorry for
his obstinacy under the circumstances. Indeed, there were too many
seals on shore, and we ought not to lay such temptation in this
unreflecting fisherman's way. Breakfast over, we went on shore. The
Nautilus had gone some miles farther up in the night. It was a whole
league from the coast, above which reared a sharp peak about five
hundred yards high. The boat took with me Captain Nemo, two men of the
crew, and the instruments, which consisted of a chronometer a
telescope, and a barometer.
    While crossing, I saw numerous whales belonging to the three kinds
peculiar to the southern seas; the whale, or the English "right
whale," which has no dorsal fin; the "humpback," or balaenopteron,
with reeved chest, and large whitish fins, which, in spite of its
name, do not form wings; and the finback, of a yellowish brown, the
liveliest of all the cetacea. This powerful creature is heard a long
way off when he throws to a great height columns of air and vapor,
which look like whirlwinds of smoke. These different mammals were
disporting themselves in troops in the quiet waters; and I could see
that this basin of the Antarctic Pole served as a place of refuge to
the cetacea too closely tracked by the hunters. the hunters. I also
noticed long whitish lines of salpae, a kind of gregarious mollusk,
and large medusae floating between the reeds.
    At nine we landed; the sky was brightening, the clouds were flying
to the south, and the fog seemed to be leaving the cold surface of the
waters. Captain Nemo went toward the peak, which he doubtless meant to
be his observatory. It was a painful ascent over the sharp lava and
the pumice stones, in an atmosphere often impregnated with a
sulphurous smell from the smoking cracks. For a man unaccustomed to
walk on land, the captain climbed the steep slopes with an agility I
never saw equaled, and which a hunter would have envied.
    We were two hours getting to the summit of this peak, which was
half porphyry and half basalt. From thence we looked upon a vast
sea, which, toward the north, distinctly traced its boundary line upon
the sky. At our feet lay fields of dazzling whiteness. Over our
heads a pale azure, free from fog. To the north the disk of the sun
seemed like a ball of fire, already horned by the cutting of the
horizon. From the bosom of the water rose sheaves of liquid jets by
hundreds. In the distance lay the Nautilus like a cetacean asleep on
the water. Behind us, to the south and east, an immense country, and a
chaotic heap of rocks and ice, the limits of which were not visible.
    On arriving at the summit, Captain Nemo carefully took the mean
height of the barometer, for he would have to consider that in
taking his observations. At a quarter to twelve, the sun, then seen
only by refraction, looked like a golden disk shedding its last rays
upon this deserted continent, and seas which never man had yet plowed.
Captain Nemo, furnished with a lenticular glass, which, by means of
a mirror, collected the refraction, watched the orb sinking below
the horizon by degrees, following a lengthened diagonal. I held the
chronometer. My heart beat fast. If the disappearance of the half disk
of the sun coincided with twelve o'clock on the chronometer, we were
at the pole itself.
    "Twelve!" I exclaimed.
    "The South Pole!" replied Captain Nemo, in a grave voice,
handing me the glass, which showed the orb cut in equal parts by the
    I looked at the last rays crowning the peak, and the shadows
mounting by degrees up its slopes. At that moment Captain Nemo,
resting with his hand on my shoulder, said:
    "I, Captain Nemo, on this twenty-first day of March, 1868, have
reached the South Pole on the ninetieth degree; and I take
possession of this part of the globe, equal to one sixth of the
known continents."
    "In whose name, Captain?"
    "In my own, Sir!"
    Saying which, Captain Nemo unfurled a black banner, bearing an N
in gold quartered on its bunting. Then turning toward the orb of
day, whose last rays lapped the horizon of the sea, he exclaimed:
    "Adieu, sun! Disappear, thou radiant orb! rest beneath this open
sea, and let a night of six months spread its shadow over my new
                           CHAPTER XV.

                      ACCIDENT OR INCIDENT.

    THE next day, March 22, at six in the morning, preparations for
departure were begun. The last gleams of twilight were melting into
night. The cold was great; the constellations shone with wonderful
intensity. In the zenith glittered that wondrous Southern Cross- the
polar bear of antarctic regions. The thermometer showed twelve degrees
below zero, and, when the wind freshened, it was most biting. Flakes
of ice increased on the open water. The sea seemed everywhere alike.
Numerous blackish patches spread on the surface, showing the formation
of fresh ice.
    Evidently the southern basin, frozen during the six winter months,
was absolutely inaccessible. What became of the whales in that time?
Doubtless they went beneath the icebergs, seeking more practicable
seas. As to the seals and morses, accustomed to live, in a hard
climate, they remained on these icy shores. These creatures have the
instinct to break holes in the ice fields, and to keep them open. To
these holes they come for breath; when the birds, driven away by the
cold, have emigrated to the north, these sea mammals remain sole
masters of the polar continent. But the reservoirs were filling with
water, and the Nautilus was slowly descending. At 1,000 feet deep it
stopped; its screw beat the waves, and it advanced straight toward the
north, at a speed of fifteen miles an hour. Toward night it was
already floating under the immense body of the iceberg.
    At three in the morning I was awakened by a violent shock. I sat
up in my bed and listened in the darkness, when I was thrown into
the middle of the room. The Nautilus, after having struck, had
rebounded violently. I groped along the partition, and by the
staircase to the saloon, which was lit by the luminous ceiling. The
furniture was upset. Fortunately the windows were firmly set, and
had held fast. The pictures on the starboard side, from being no
longer vertical, were clinging to the paper, whilst those of the
port side were hanging at least a foot from the wall. The Nautilus was
lying on its starboard side perfectly motionless. I heard footsteps,
and a confusion of voices; but Captain Nemo did not appear. As I was
leaving the saloon, Ned Land and Conseil entered.
    "What is the matter?" said I, at once.
    "I came to ask you, Sir," replied Conseil.
    "Confound it!" exclaimed the Canadian, "I know well enough the
Nautilus has struck; and judging by the way she lies, I do not think
she will right herself as she did the first time in Torres Straits."
    "But," I asked, "has she at least come to the surface of the sea?"
    "We do not know," said Conseil.
    "It is easy to decide," I answered. I consulted the manometer.
To my great surprise it showed a depth of more than 180 fathoms. "What
does that mean?" I exclaimed.
    "We must ask Captain Nemo," said Conseil.
    "But where shall we find him?" said Ned Land.
    "Follow me," said I to my companions.
    We left the saloon. There was no one in the library. At the center
staircase, by the berths of the ship's crew, there was no one. I
thought that Captain Nemo must be in the pilot's cage. It was best
to wait. We all returned to the saloon. For twenty minutes we remained
thus, trying to hear the slightest noise which might be made on
board the Nautilus, when Captain Nemo entered. He seemed not to see
us; his face, generally so impassive, showed signs of uneasiness. He
watched the compass silently, then the manometer; and going to the
planisphere, placed his finger on a spot representing the southern
seas. I would not interrupt him; but, some minutes later, when he
turned toward me, I said, using one of his own expressions in the
Torres Straits:
    "An incident, Captain?"
    "No, Sir; an accident this time."
    "Is the danger immediate?"
    "The Nautilus has stranded?"
    "And this has happened- how?"
    "From a caprice of nature, not from the ignorance of man. Not a
mistake has been made in the working. But we cannot prevent
equilibrium from producing its effects. We may brave human laws, but
we cannot resist natural ones."
    Captain Nemo had chosen a strange moment for uttering this
philosophical reflection. On the whole, his answer helped me little.
    "May I ask the cause of this accident?"
    "An enormous block of ice, a whole mountain, has turned over."
he replied. "When icebergs are undermined at their base by warmer
water or reiterated shocks, their center of gravity rises, and the
whole thing turns over. This is what has happened; one of these
blocks, as it fell, struck the Nautilus, then gliding under its
hull, raised it with irresistible force, bringing it into beds which
are not so thick, where it is lying on its side."
    "But can we not get the Nautilus off by emptying its reservoirs,
that it may regain its equilibrium?"
    "That, Sir, is being done at this moment. You can hear the pump
working. Look at the needle of the manometer; it shows that the
Nautilus is rising, but the block of ice is rising with it; and, until
some obstacle stops its ascending motion, our position cannot be
    Indeed, the Nautilus still held the same position to starboard;
doubtless it would right itself when the block stopped. But at this
moment who knows if we may not strike the upper part of the iceberg,
and if we may not be frightfully crushed between the two glassy
surfaces? I reflected on all the consequences of our position. Captain
Nemo never took his eyes off the manometer. Since the fall of the
iceberg, the Nautilus had risen about a hundred fifty feet, but it
still made the same angle with the perpendicular. Suddenly a slight
movement was felt in the hold. Evidently it was righting a little.
Things in the saloon were sensibly returning to their normal position.
The partitions were nearing the upright. No one spoke. With beating
hearts we watched and felt the straightening. The boards became
horizontal under our feet. Ten minutes passed.
    "At last we have righted!" I exclaimed.
    "Yes," said Captain Nemo, going to the door of the saloon.
    "But are we floating?" I asked.
    "Certainly," he replied; "since the reservoirs are not empty; and,
when empty, the Nautilus must rise to the surface of the sea."
    We were in open sea; but at a distance of about ten yards, on
either side of the Nautilus, rose a dazzling wall of ice. Above and
beneath, the same wall. Above, because the lower surface of the
iceberg stretched over us like an immense ceiling. Beneath, because
the overturned block, having slid by degrees had found a resting place
on the lateral walls, which kept it in that position. The Nautilus was
really imprisoned in a perfect tunnel of ice more than twenty yards in
breadth, filled with quiet water. It was easy to get out of it by
going either forward or backward, and then make a free passage under
the iceberg, some hundreds of yards deeper. The luminous ceiling had
been extinguished, but the saloon was still resplendent with intense
light. It was the powerful reflection from the glass partition sent
violently back to the sheets of the lantern. I cannot describe the
effect of the voltaic rays upon the great blocks so capriciously
cut; upon every angle, every ridge, every facet was thrown a different
light, according to the nature of the veins running through the ice; a
dazzling mine of gems, particularly of sapphires, their blue rays
crossing with the green of the emerald. Here and there were opal
shades of wonderful softness, running through bright spots like
diamonds of fire, the brilliancy of which the eye could not bear.
The power of the lantern seemed increased a hundredfold, like a lamp
through the lenticular plates of a first-class lighthouse.
    "How beautiful! how beautiful!" cried Conseil.
    "Yes," I said, "it is a wonderful sight. Is it not, Ned?"
    "Yes, confound it! Yes," answered Ned Land, "it is superb! I am
mad at being obliged to admit it. No one has ever seen anything like
it; but the sight may cost us dear. And if I must say all, I think
we are seeing here things which God never intended man to see."
    Ned was right, it was too beautiful. Suddenly a cry from Conseil
made me turn.
    "What is it?" I asked.
    "Shut your eyes, Sir! do not look!" Saying which, Conseil
clapped his hands over his eyes.
    "But what is the matter, my boy?"
    "I am dazzled, blinded."
    My eyes turned involuntarily toward the glass, but I could not
stand the fire which seemed to devour them. I understood what had
happened. The Nautilus had put on full speed. All the quiet luster
of the ice walls was at once changed into flashes of lightning. The
fire from these myriads of diamonds was blinding. It required some
time to calm our troubled looks. At last the hands were taken down.
    "Faith, I should never have believed it," said Conseil.
    It was then five in the morning; and at that moment a shock was
felt at the bows of the Nautilus. I knew that its spur had struck a
block of ice. It must have been a false maneuver, for this submarine
tunnel, obstructed by blocks, was not very easy navigation. I
thought that Captain Nemo, by changing his course, would either turn
these obstacles, or else follow the windings of the tunnel. In any
case, the road before us could not be entirely blocked. But,
contrary to my expectations, the Nautilus took a decided retrograde
    "We are going backward?" said Conseil.
    "Yes," I replied. "This end of the tunnel can have no egress."
    "And then?"
    "Then," said I, "the working is easy. We must go back again, and
go out at the southern opening. That is all."
    In speaking thus, I wished to appear more confident than I
really was. But the retrograde motion of the Nautilus was
increasing; and, reversing the screw, it carried us at great speed.
    "It be a hindrance," said Ned.
    "What does it matter, some hours more or less, provided we get out
at last?"
    "Yes," repeated Ned Land, "provided we do get out at last!"
    For a short time I walked from the saloon to the library. My
companions were silent. I soon threw myself on an ottoman, and took
a book, which my eyes overran mechanically. A quarter of an hour
after, Conseil, approaching me, said, "Is what you are reading very
interesting, Sir?"
    "Very interesting!" I replied.
    "I should think so, Sir. It is your own book you are reading."
    "My book?"
    And indeed I was holding in my hand the work on the "Great
Submarine Depths." I did not even dream of it. I closed the book,
and returned to my walk. Ned and Conseil rose to go.
    "Stay here, my friends," said I, detaining them. "Let us remain
together until we are out of this block."
    "As you please," Conseil replied.
    Some hours passed. I often looked at the instruments hanging
from the partition. The manometer showed that the Nautilus kept at a
constant depth of more than three hundred yards; the compass still
pointed to the south; the log indicated a speed of twenty miles an
hour, which, in such a cramped space, was very great. But Captain Nemo
knew that he could not hasten too much, and that minutes were worth
ages to us. At twenty-five minutes past eight a second shock took this
time from behind. I turned pale. My companions were close by my
side. I seized Conseil's hand. Our looks expressed our feelings better
than words. At this moment the captain entered the saloon. I went up
to him.
    "Our course is barred southward?" I asked.
    "Yes, Sir. The iceberg has shifted, and closed every outlet."
    "We are blocked up, then?"
                          CHAPTER XVI.

                          WANT OF AIR.

    THUS, around the Nautilus, above and below, was an impenetrable
wall of ice. We were prisoners to the iceberg. I watched the
captain. His countenance had resumed its habitual imperturbability.
    "Gentlemen," he said, calmly, "there are two ways of dying in
the circumstances in which we are placed." (This inexplicable person
had the air of a mathematical professor lecturing to his pupils.)
"The first is to be crushed; the second is to die of suffocation. I
do not speak of the possibility of dying of hunger, for the supply
of provisions in the Nautilus will certainly last longer than we
shall. Let us then calculate our chances."
    "As to suffocation, Captain," I replied, "that is not to be
feared, because our reservoirs are full."
    "Just so; but they will only yield two days' supply of air. Now,
for thirty-six hours we have been hidden under the water, and
already the heavy atmosphere of the Nautilus requires renewal. In
forty-eight hours our reserve will be exhausted."
    "Well, Captain, can we be delivered before forty-eight hours?"
    "We will attempt it, at least, by piercing the wall that surrounds
    "On which side?"
    "Sound will tell us. I am going to run the Nautilus aground on the
lower bank, and my men will attack the iceberg on the side that is
least thick."
    Captain Nemo went out. Soon I discovered by a hissing noise that
the water was entering the reservoirs. The Nautilus sank slowly, and
rested on the ice at a depth of 350 yards, the depth at which the
lower bank was immersed.
    "My friends," I said, "our situation is serious, but I rely on
your courage and energy."
    "Sir," replied the Canadian, "I am ready to do anything for the
general safety."
    "Good! Ned," and I held out my hand to the Canadian.
    "I will add," he continued, "that being as handy with the pickax
as with the harpoon, if I can be useful to the captain, he can command
my services."
    "He will not refuse your help. Come, Ned!"
    I led him to the room where the crew of the Nautilus were
putting on their cork jackets. I told the captain of Ned's proposal,
which he accepted. The Canadian put on his sea costume, and was
ready as soon as his companions. When Ned was dressed, I reentered the
drawing-room, where the panes of glass were open, and, posted near
Conseil, I examined the ambient beds that supported the Nautilus. Some
instants after, we saw a dozen of the crew set foot on the bank of
ice, and among them Ned Land, easily known by his stature. Captain
Nemo was with them. Before proceeding to dig the walls, he took the
soundings, to be sure of working in the right direction. Long sounding
lines were sunk in the side walls, but after fifteen yards they were
again stopped by the thick wall. It was useless to attack it on the
ceiling-like surface, since the iceberg itself measured more than four
hundred yards in height. Captain Nemo then sounded the lower
surface. There ten yards of wall separated us from the water, so great
was the thickness of the ice field. It was necessary, therefore to cut
from it a piece equal in extent to the water line of the Nautilus.
There were about six thousand cubic yards to detach, so as to dig a
hole by which we could descend to the ice field.
    The work was begun immediately, and carried on with
indefatigable energy. Instead of digging round the Nautilus, which
would have involved greater difficulty, Captain Nemo had an immense
trench made at eight yards from the port quarter. Then the men set
to work simultaneously with their screws, on several points of its
circumference. Presently the pickax attacked this compact matter
vigorously, and large blocks were detached from the mass. By a curious
effect of specific gravity, these blocks, lighter than water, fled, so
to speak, to the vault of the tunnel, that increased in thickness at
the top in proportion as it diminished at the base. But that
mattered little, so long as the lower part grew thinner. After two
hours' hard work, Ned Land came in exhausted. He and his comrades were
replaced by new workers, whom Conseil and I joined. The second
lieutenant of the Nautilus superintended us. The water seemed
singularly cold, but I soon got warm handling the pickax. My movements
were free enough, although they were made under a pressure of thirty
    When I reentered after working two hours, to take some food and
rest, I found a perceptible difference between the pure fluid with
which the Rouquayrol engine supplied me, and the atmosphere of the
Nautilus, already charged with carbonic acid. The air had not been
renewed for forty-eight hours, and its vivifying qualities were
considerably enfeebled. However, after a lapse of twelve hours, we had
only raised a block of ice one yard thick, on the marked surface,
which was about six hundred cubic yards! Reckoning that it took twelve
hours to accomplish this much, it would take five nights and four days
to bring this enterprise to a satisfactory conclusion. Five nights and
four days! and we have only air enough for two days in the reservoirs!
    "Without taking into account," said Ned, "that, even if we get out
of this infernal prison, we shall also be imprisoned under the
iceberg, shut out from all possible communication with the
atmosphere." True enough! Who could then foresee the minimum of time
necessary for our deliverance? We might be suffocated before the
Nautilus could regain the surface of the waves? Was it destined to
perish in this ice tomb, with all those inclosed? The situation was
terrible. But everyone had looked the danger in the face, and each was
determined to do his duty to the last.
    As I expected, during the night a new block a yard square was
carried away, and still farther sank the immense hollow. But in the
morning when, dressed in my cork jacket, I traversed the slushy mass
at a temperature of six or seven degrees below zero, I remarked that
the side walls were gradually closing in. The beds of water farthest
from the trench, that were not warmed by the men's mere work, showed a
tendency to solidification. In presence of this new and imminent
danger, what would become of our chances of safety, and how hinder the
solidification of this liquid medium, that would burst the
partitions of the Nautilus like glass?
    I did not tell my companions of this new danger. What was the good
of damping the energy they displayed in the painful work of escape?
But when I went on board again, I told Captain Nemo of this grave
    "I know it," he said, in that calm tone which could counteract the
most terrible apprehensions. "It is one danger more; but I see no
way of escaping it; the only chance of safety is to go quicker than
solidification. We must be beforehand with it, that is all."
    On this day for several hours I used my pickax vigorously. The
work kept me up. Besides, to work was to quit the Nautilus, and
breathe directly the pure air drawn from the reservoirs, and
supplied by our apparatus, and to quit the impoverished and vitiated
atmosphere. Toward evening the trench was dug one yard deeper. When
I returned on board, I was nearly suffocated by the carbonic acid with
which the air was filled- ah! if we had only the chemical means to
drive away this deleterious gas. We had plenty of oxygen; all this
water contained a considerable quantity, and by dissolving it with our
powerful piles, it would restore the vivifying fluid. I had thought
well over it; but of what good was that, since the carbonic acid
produced by our respiration had invaded every part of the vessel? To
absorb it, it was necessary to fill some jars with caustic potash, and
to shake them incessantly. Now this substance was wanting on board,
and nothing could replace it. On that evening, Captain Nemo ought to
open the taps of his reservoirs, and let some pure air into the
interior of the Nautilus; without this precaution, we could not get
rid of the sense of suffocation.
    The next day, March 26, I resumed my miner's work in beginning the
fifth yard. The side walls and the lower surface of the iceberg
thickened visibly. It was evident that they would meet before the
Nautilus was able to disengage itself. Despair seized me for an
instant, my pickax nearly fell from my hands. What was the good of
digging if I must be suffocated, crushed by the water that was turning
into stone?- a punishment that the ferocity of the savages even
would not have invented! Just then Captain Nemo passed near me. I
touched his hand and showed him the walls of our prison. The wall to
port had advanced to at least four yards from the hull of the
Nautilus. The captain understood me, and signed to me to follow him.
We went on board. I took off my cork jacket, and accompanied him
into the drawing-room.
    "M. Aronnax, we must attempt some desperate means, or we shall
be sealed up in this solidified water as in cement."
    "Yes; but what is to be done?"
    "Ah! if my Nautilus were strong enough to bear this pressure
without being crushed!"
    "Well?" I asked, not catching the captain's idea.
    "Do you not understand," he replied, "that this congelation of
water will help us? Do you not see that, by its solidification, it
would burst through this field of ice that imprisons us, as, when it
freezes, it bursts the hardest stones? Do you not perceive that it
would be an agent of safety instead of destruction?"
    "Yes, Captain, perhaps. But whatever resistance to crushing the
Nautilus possesses, it could not support this terrible pressure, and
would be flattened like an iron plate."
    "I know it, Sir. Therefore we must not reckon on the aid of
nature, but on our own exertions. We must stop this solidification.
Not only will the side walls be pressed together; but there is not ten
feet of water before or behind the Nautilus. The congelation gains
on us on all sides."
    "How long will the air in the reservoirs last for us to breathe on
    The captain looked in my face. "After tomorrow they will be
    A cold sweat came over me. However, ought I to have been
astonished at the answer? On March 22, the Nautilus. was in the open
polar seas. We were at 26 degrees. For five days we had lived on the
reserve on board. And what was left of the respirable air must be kept
for the workers. Even now, as I write, my recollection is still so
vivid, that an involuntary terror seizes me, and my lungs seem to be
without air. Meanwhile, Captain Nemo reflected silently, and evidently
an idea had struck him; but he seemed to reject it. At last, these
words escaped his lips:
    "Boiling water!" he muttered.
    "Boiling water?" I cried.
    "Yes, Sir. We are inclosed in a space that is relatively confined.
Would not jets of boiling water, constantly injected by the pumps,
raise the temperature in this part, and stay the congelation?"
    "Let us try it," I said, resolutely.
    "Let us try, Professor."
    The thermometer then stood at seven degrees outside. Captain
Nemo took me to the galleys, where the vast distillatory machines
stood that furnished the drinkable water by evaporation. They filled
these with water, and all the electric heat from the piles was
thrown through the worms bathed in the liquid. In a few minutes this
water reached a hundred degrees. It was directed toward the pumps,
while fresh water replaced it in proportion. The heat developed by the
troughs was such that cold water, drawn up from the sea, after only
having gone through the machines, came boiling into the body of the
pump. The injection was begun, and three hours after the thermometer
marked six degrees below zero outside. One degree was gained. Two
hours later, the thermometer only marked four degrees.
    "We shall succeed," I said to the captain, after having
anxiously watched the result of the operation.
    "I think," he answered, "that we shall not be crushed. We have
no more suffocation to fear."
    During the night the temperature of the water rose to one degree
below zero. The injections could not carry it to a higher point. But
as the congelation of the sea water produces, at least two degrees,
I was at last reassured against the dangers of solidification.
    The next day, March 27, six yards of ice had been cleared, four
yards only remaining to be cleared away. There was yet forty-eight
hours work. The air could not be renewed in the interior of the
Nautilus. And this day would make it worse. An intolerable weight
oppressed me. Toward three o'clock in the evening, this feeling rose
to a violent degree. Yawns dislocated my jaws. My lungs panted as they
inhaled this burning fluid, which became rarefied more and more. A
moral torpor took hold of me. I was powerless, almost unconscious.
My brave Conseil, though exhibiting the same symptoms and suffering in
the same manner, never left me. He took my hand and encouraged me, and
I heard him murmur, "Oh! if I could only not breathe, so as to leave
more air for my master!"
    Tears came into my eyes on hearing him speak thus. If our
situation to all was intolerable in the interior, with what haste
and gladness would we put on our cork jackets to work in our turn!
Pickaxes sounded on the frozen ice beds. Our arms ached, the skin
was torn off our hands. But what were these fatigues, what did the
wounds matter? Vital air came to the lungs! we breathed! we breathed!
    All this time, no one prolonged his voluntary task beyond the
prescribed time. His task accomplished, each one handed in turn to his
panting companions the apparatus that supplied him with life.
Captain Nemo set the example, and submitted first to this severe
discipline. When the time came, he gave up his apparatus to another,
and returned to the vitiated air on board, calm, unflinching,
    On that day the ordinary work was accomplished with unusual vigor.
Only two yards remained to be raised from the surface. Two yards
only separated us from the open sea. But the reservoirs were nearly
emptied of air. The little that remained ought to be kept for the
workers; not a particle for the Nautilus. When I went back on board, I
was half suffocated. What a night! I know not how to describe it.
The next day my breathing was oppressed. Dizziness accompanied the
pain in my head, and made me like a drunken man. My companions
showed the same symptoms. Some of the crew had rattling in the throat.
    On that day, the sixth of our imprisonment, Captain Nemo,
finding the pickaxes work too slowly, resolved to crush the ice bed
that still separated us from the liquid sheet. This man's coolness and
energy never forsook him. He subdued his physical pains by moral
    By his orders the vessel was lightened, that is to say, raised
from the ice bed by a change of specific gravity. When it floated they
towed it as to bring it above the immense trench made on the level
of the water line. Then, filling his reservoirs with water, he
descended and shut himself up in the hole.
    Just then all the crew came on board, and the double door of
communication was shut. The Nautilus then rested on the bed of ice,
which was not one yard thick, and which the sounding leads had
perforated in a thousand places. The taps of the reservoirs were
then opened, and a hundred cubic yards of water was let in, increasing
the weight of the Nautilus to 1,800 tons. We waited, we listened,
forgetting our sufferings in hope. Our safety depended on this last
chance. Notwithstanding the buzzing in my head, I soon heard the
humming sound under the hull of the Nautilus. The ice cracked with a
singular noise, like tearing paper, and the Nautilus sank.
    "We are off!" murmured Conseil in my ear.
    I could not answer him. I seized his hand, and pressed it
convulsively. All at once, carried away by its frightful overcharge,
the Nautilus sank like a bullet under the waters; that is to say, it
fell as if it was in a vacuum. Then all the electric force was put
on the pumps, that soon began to let the water out of the
reservoirs. After some minutes, our fall was stopped. Soon, too, the
manometer indicated an ascending movement. The screw, going at full
speed, made the iron hull tremble to its very bolts, and drew us
toward the north. But if this floating under the iceberg is to last
another day before we reach the open sea, I shall be dead first.
    Half stretched upon a divan in the library, I was suffocating.
My face was purple, my lips blue, my faculties suspended. I neither
saw nor heard. All notion of time had gone from my mind. My muscles
could not contract. I do not know how many hours passed thus, but I
was conscious of the agony that was coming over me. I felt as if I was
going to die. Suddenly I came to. Some breaths of air penetrated my
lungs. Had we risen to the surface of the waves? Were we free of the
iceberg? No. Ned and Conseil, my two brave friends, were sacrificing
themselves to save me. Some particles of air still remained at the
bottom of one apparatus. Instead of using it, they had kept it for me,
and while they were being suffocated, they gave me life drop by
drop. I wanted to push back the thing; they held my hands, and for
some moments I breathed freely.
    I looked at the clock; it was eleven in the morning. It ought to
be March 28. The Nautilus went at a frightful pace, forty miles an
hour. It literally tore through the water. Where was Captain Nemo? Had
he succumbed? Were his companions dead with him? At the moment, the
manometer indicated that we were not more than twenty feet from the
surface. A mere plate of ice separated us from the atmosphere, could
we not break it? Perhaps. In any case the Nautilus was going to
attempt it. I felt that it was in an oblique position, lowering the
stern, and raising the bows. The introduction of water had been the
means of disturbing its equilibrium. Then, impelled by its powerful
screw, it attacked the ice field from beneath like a formidable
battering-ram. It broke it by backing and then rushing forward against
the field, which gradually gave way; and, at last, dashing suddenly
against it, shot forward on the icy field, that crushed beneath its
weight. The panel was opened- one might say torn off- and the pure air
came in in abundance to all parts of the Nautilus.
                          CHAPTER XVII.

                  FROM CAPE HORN TO THE AMAZON.

    HOW I got on to the platform, I have no idea; perhaps the Canadian
had carried me there. But I breathed, I inhaled the vivifying sea air.
My two companions were getting drunk with the fresh particles. The
other unhappy men had been so long without food, that they could not
with impunity indulge in the simplest aliments that were given them.
We, on the contrary, had no need to restrain ourselves; we could
draw this air freely into our lungs, and it was the breeze, the breeze
alone, that filled us with this keen enjoyment.
    "Ah!" said Conseil, "how delightful this oxygen is! Master need
not fear to breathe it. There is enough for everybody."
    Ned Land did not speak, but he opened his jaws wide enough to
frighten a shark. Our strength soon returned, and when I looked
round me, I saw we were alone on the platform. The foreign seamen in
the Nautilus were contented with the air that circulated in the
interior; none of them had come to in the open air.
    The first words I spoke were words of gratitude and thankfulness
to my two companions. Ned and Conseil had prolonged my life during the
last hours of this long agony. All my gratitude could not repay such
    "My friends," said I, "we are bound one to the other for ever, and
I am under infinite obligations to you."
    "Which I shall take advantage of," exclaimed the Canadian.
    "What do you mean?" said Conseil.
    "I mean that I shall take you with me when I leave this infernal
    "Well," said Conseil, "after all this, are we going right?"
    "Yes," I replied, "for we are going the way of the sun, and here
the sun is in the north."
    "No doubt," said Ned Land; "but it remains to be seen whether he
will bring the ship into the Pacific or the Atlantic Ocean, that is,
into frequented or deserted seas."
    I could not answer that question, and I feared that Captain Nemo
would rather take us to the vast ocean that touches the coasts of Asia
and America at the same time. He would thus complete the tour round
the submarine world, and return to those waters in which the
Nautilus could sail freely. We ought, before long, to settle this
important point. The Nautilus went at a rapid pace. The polar circle
was soon passed, and the course shaped for Cape Horn. We were off
the American point, March 31, at seven o'clock in the evening. Then
all our past sufferings were forgotten. The remembrance of that
imprisonment in the ice was effaced from our minds. We only thought of
the future. Captain Nemo did not appear again either in the
drawing-room or on the platform. The point shown each day on the
planisphere, and marked by the lieutenant, showed me the exact
direction of the Nautilus.
    Now, on that evening, it was evident, to my great satisfaction,
that we were going back to the north by the Atlantic. The next day,
April 1, when the Nautilus ascended to the surface, some minutes
before noon, we sighted land to the west. It was Terra del Fuego,
which the first navigators named thus from seeing the quantity of
smoke that rose from the natives' huts. The coast seemed low to me,
but in the distance rose high mountains. I even though I had a glimpse
of Mount Sarmiento, that rises 2,070 yards above the level of the sea,
with a very pointed summit, which, according as it is misty or
clear, is a sign of fine or of wet weather. At this moment, the peak
was clearly defined against the sky. The Nautilus, diving again
under the water, approached the coast, which was only some few miles
off. From the glass windows in the drawing-room, I saw long
seaweeds, and gigantic fuci, and varech, of which the open polar sea
contains so many specimens, with their sharp polished filaments;
they measured about 300 yards in length-real cables, thicker than
one's thumb; and having great tenacity, they are often used as ropes
for vessels.
    Another weed known as velp, with leaves four feet long, buried
in the coral concretions, hung at the bottom. It served as nest and
food for myriads of crustacea and mollusks, crabs and cuttlefish.
There seals and otters had splendid repasts, eating the flesh of
fish with sea vegetables, according to the English fashion. Over
this fertile and luxuriant ground the Nautilus passed with great
rapidity. Toward evening, it approached the Falkland group, the
rough summits of which I recognized the following day. The depth of
the sea was moderate. On the shores, our nets brought in beautiful
specimens of seaweed, and particularly a certain fucus, the roots of
which were filled with the best mussels in the world. Geese and
ducks fell by dozens on the platform, and soon took their places in
the pantry on board. With regard to fish, I observed especially
specimens of the goby species, some two feet long, all over white
and yellow spots. I admired also numerous medusae, and the finest of
the sort, the crysaora, peculiar to the sea about the Falkland
Isles. I should have liked to preserve some specimens of these
delicate zoophytes: but they are only like clouds, shadows,
apparitions, that sink and evaporate, when out of their native
    When the last heights of the Falklands had disappeared from the
horizon, the Nautilus sank to between twenty and twenty-five yards,
and followed the American coast. Captain Nemo did not show himself.
Until April 3, we did not quit the shores of Patagonia, sometimes
under the ocean, sometimes at the surface. The Nautilus passed
beyond the large estuary formed by the mouth of the Plata, and was, on
April 4, fifty-six miles off Uraguay. Its direction was northwards,
and followed the long windings of the coast of South America. We had
then made 16,000 miles since our embarkation in the seas of Japan.
About eleven o'clock in the morning the Tropic of Capricorn was
crossed on the thirty-seventh meridian, and we passed Cape Frio
standing out to sea. Captain Nemo, to Ned Land's great displeasure,
did not like the neighborhood of the inhabited coasts of Brazil, for
we went at a giddy speed. Not a fish, not a bird of the swiftest
kind could follow us, and the natural curiosities of these seas
escaped all observation.
    This speed was kept up for several days, and in the evening of
April 9 we sighted the most westerly point of South America that forms
Cape San Roque. But then the Nautilus swerved again, and sought the
lowest depth of a submarine valley which is between this cape and
Sierra Leone on the African coast. This valley bifurcates to the
parallel of the Antilles, and terminates at the north by the
enormous depression of 9,000 yards. In this place, the geological
basin of the ocean forms, as far as the Lesser Antilles, a cliff of
three and a half miles perpendicular in height, and at the parallel
of the Cape Verde Islands, another wall not less considerable, that
encloses thus all the sunk continent of the Atlantic.
    The bottom of this immense valley is dotted with some mountains,
that give to these submarine places a picturesque aspect. I speak,
moreover, from the manuscript charts that were in the library of the
Nautilus- charts evidently due to Captain Nemo's hand, and made
after his personal observations. For two days the desert and deep
waters were visited by means of the inclined planes. The Nautilus
was furnished with long diagonal broadsides which carried it to all
elevations. But, on April 11, it rose suddenly, and land appeared at
the mouth of the Amazon River, a vast estuary, the embouchure of which
is so considerable that it freshens the sea water for the distance
of several leagues.
    The equator was crossed. Twenty miles to the west were the
Guianas, a French territory, on which we could have found an easy
refuge; but a stiff breeze was blowing, and the furious waves would
not have allowed a single boat to face them. Ned Land understood that,
no doubt, for he spoke not a word about it. For my part, I made no
allusion to his schemes of flight, for I would not urge him to make an
attempt that must inevitably fail. I made the time pass pleasantly
by interesting studies.
    During the days of April 11 and 12, the Nautilus did not leave the
surface of the sea, and the net brought in a marvelous haul of
zoophytes, fish and reptiles. Some zoophytes had been fished up by the
chain of the nets; they were for the most part beautiful phyctallines,
belonging to the actinidian family, and among other species the
phyctalis protexta, peculiar to that part of the ocean, with a
little cylindrical trunk, ornamented with vertical lines speckled with
red dots, crowning a marvelous blossoming of tentacles. As to the
mollusks, they consisted of some I had already observed-
turritellas, olive porphyras, with regular lines intercrossed, with
red spots standing out plainly against the flesh; odd pteroceras, like
petrified scorpions; translucid hyaleas, argonauts, cuttlefish
(excellent eating), and certain species of calmars that naturalists of
antiquity have classed amongst the flying-fish, and that serve
principally for bait for cod-fishing.
    I had an opportunity of studying several species of fish on
these shores. Among the cartilaginous ones, petromyzons-pricka, a sort
of eel, fifteen inches long, with a greenish head, violet fins,
gray-blue back, brown belly, silvered and sown with bright spots,
the pupil of the eye encircled with gold- a curious animal, that the
current of the Amazon had drawn to the sea, for they inhabit fresh
water-tuberculated streaks, with pointed snouts, and a long loose
tail, armed with a long jagged sting. Little sharks, a yard long, gray
and whitish skin, and several rows of teeth, bent back, that are
generally known by the name of pantouffles; vespertilios, a kind of
red isosceles triangle, half a yard long, to which pectorals are
attached by fleshy prolongations that make them look like bats.
Their horny appendage, situated near the nostrils, has given them
the name of sea-unicorns; lastly, some species of balistae, the
curassavian, whose spots were of a brilliant gold color, and the
capriscus of clear violet, and with varying shades like a pigeon's
    I end here this catalog, which is somewhat dry perhaps, but very
exact, with a series of bony fish that I observed in passing belonging
to the apteronotes, and whose snout is white as snow, the body of a
beautiful black, marked with a very long loose fleshy strip;
odontognathes, armed with spikes; sardines; nine inches long,
glittering with a bright silver light; a species of mackerel
provided with two anal fins; centronotes of a blackish tint, that
are fished for with torches long fish, two yards in length, with
flat flesh, white and firm, which, when they are fresh, taste like
eel, and when dry, like smoked salmon; labres, half red, covered
with scales only at the bottom of the dorsal and anal fins;
chrysoptera, on which gold and silver blend their brightness with that
of the ruby and topaz; golden-tailed spares, the flesh of which is
extremely delicate, and whose phosphorescent properties betray them in
the midst of the waters; orange-colored spares with a long tongue;
maigres, with gold caudal fins, dark thorntails, anableps of
Surinam, etc.
    Notwithstanding this "etcetera," I must not omit to mention fish
that Conseil will long remember, and with good reason. One of our nets
had hauled up a sort of very flat rayfish, which, with the tail cut
off, formed a perfect disc, and weighed twenty ounces. It was white
underneath, red above, with large round spots of dark blue encircled
with black, very glossy skin, terminating in a bilobed fin. Laid out
on the platform, it struggled, tried to turn itself by convulsive
movements, and made so many efforts, that one last turn had nearly
sent it into the sea. But Conseil, not wishing to let the fish go,
rushed to it, and, before I could prevent him, had seized it with both
hands. In a moment he was overthrown, his legs in the air, and half
his body paralyzed, crying:
    "Oh! master, master! come to me!"
    It was the first time the poor boy had not spoken to me in the
third person. The Canadian and I took him up, and rubbed his
contracted arms till he became sensible. The unfortunate Conseil had
attacked a crampfish of the most dangerous kind, the cumana. This
odd animal, in a medium conductor like water, strikes fish at
several yards' distance, so great is the power of its electric
organ, the two principal surfaces of which do not measure less than
twenty-seven square feet.
    The next day, April 12, the Nautilus approached the Dutch coast,
near the mouth of the Maroni. There several groups of sea-cows
herded together; they were manatees, that, like the dugong and the
stellera, belong to the sirenian order. These beautiful animals,
peaceable and inoffensive, from eighteen to twenty-one feet in length,
weigh at least sixteen hundredweight. I told Ned Land and Conseil that
provident nature had assigned an important role to these mammalia.
Indeed, they, like the seals, are designed to graze on the submarine
prairies, and thus destroy the accumulation of weed that obstructs the
tropical rivers.
    "And do you know," I added, "what has been the result since men
have almost entirely annihilated this useful race? That the
putrified weeds have poisoned the air, and the poisoned air causes the
yellow fever, that desolates these beautiful countries. Enormous
vegetations are multiplied under the torrid seas, and the evil is
irresistibly developed from the mouth of the Rio de la Plata to
Florida. If we are to believe Toussenel, this plague is nothing to
what it would be if the seas were cleared of whales and seals. Then,
infested with poulps, medusae, and cuttlefish, they would become
immense centres of infection, since their waves would not possess
'these vast stomachs that God had charged to infest the surface of the
    However, without disputing these theories, the crew of the
Nautilus took possession of half a dozen manatees. They provisioned
the larders with excellent fish, superior to beef and veal. This sport
was not interesting. The manatees allowed themselves to be hit without
defending themselves. Several thousand pounds of meat were stored up
on board to be dried. On this day, a successful haul of fish increased
the stores of the Nautilus, so full of game were these seas. They were
echeneides belonging to the third family of the malacopterygians;
their flattened discs were composed of transverse movable
cartilaginous plates, by which the animal was enabled to create a
vacuum, and to adhere to any object like a cupping-glass. The remora
that I had observed in the Mediterranean belongs to this species.
But the one of which we are speaking was the echeneis osteochera,
peculiar to this sea.
    The fishing over, the Nautilus neared the coast. About here a
number of sea turtles were sleeping on the surface of the water. It
would have been difficult to capture these precious reptiles, for
the least noise awakens them, and their solid shell is proof against
the harpoon. But the echeneis effects their capture with extraordinary
precision and certainty. This animal is, indeed, a living fish-hook,
which would make the fortune of an inexperienced fisherman. The crew
of the Nautilus tied a ring to the tail of these fish, so large as not
to encumber their movements, and to this ring a long cord, lashed to
the ship's side by the other end.
    The echeneids, thrown into the sea, directly began their game, and
fixed themselves to the breastplate of the turtles. Their tenacity was
such, that they were torn rather than let go their hold. The men
hauled them on board, and with them the turtles to which they adhered.
They took also several cacouannes a yard long, which weighed 400
lbs. Their carapace covered with large horny plates, thin,
transparent, brown, with white and yellow spots, fetch a good price in
the market. Besides, they were excellent in an edible point of view,
as well as the fresh turtles, which have an exquisite flavor. This
day's fishing brought to a close our stay on the shores of the Amazon,
and by nightfall the Nautilus had regained the high seas.
                         CHAPTER XVIII.

                           THE POULPS.

    FOR several days the Nautilus kept off from the American coast.
Evidently it did not wish to risk the tides of the Gulf of Mexico,
or of the sea of the Antilles. April 16, we sighted Martinique and
Guadaloupe from a distance of about thirty miles. I saw their tall
peaks for an instant. The Canadian, who counted on carrying out his
projects in the Gulf, by either landing, or hailing one of the
numerous boats that coast from one island to another, was quite
disheartened. Flight would have been quite practicable, if Ned Land
had been able to take possession of the boat without the captain's
knowledge. But in the open sea it could not be thought of. The
Canadian, Conseil, and I had a long conversation on this subject.
For six months we had been prisoners on board the Nautilus. We had
travelled 17,000 leagues; and, as Ned Land said, there was no reason
why it should not come to an end. We could hope nothing from the
captain of the Nautilus, but only from ourselves. Besides, for some
time past he had become graver, more retired, less sociable. He seemed
to shun me. I met him rarely. Formerly, he was pleased to explain
the submarine marvels to me; now, he left me to my studies, and came
no more to the saloon. What change had come over him? For what cause?
    For my part, I did not wish to bury with me my curious and novel
studies. I had now the power to write the true book of the sea; and
this book, sooner or later, I wished to see daylight. Then again, in
the water by the Antilles, ten yards below the surface of the
waters, by the open panels, what interesting products I had to enter
on my daily notes! There were, among other zoophytes, those known
under the name of physalis pelagica, a sort of large oblong bladder,
with mother-of-pearl rays, holding out their membranes to the wind,
and letting their blue tentacles float like threads of silk;
charming medusae to the eye, real nettles to the touch, that distil
a corrosive fluid. There were also annelides, a yard and a half
long, furnished with a pink horn, and with 1,700 locomotive organs,
that wind through the waters, and throw out in passing all the light
of the solar spectrum. There were, in the fish category, some
Malabar rays, enormous gristly things, ten feet long, weighing 600
pounds, the pectoral fin triangular in the midst of a slightly
humped back, the eyes fixed in the extremities of the face, beyond the
head, and which floated like weft, and looked sometimes like an opaque
shutter on our glass window. There were American balistae, which
nature has only dressed in black and white; gobies, with yellow fins
and prominent jaw; mackerel sixteen feet long, with short-pointed
teeth, covered with small scales, belonging to the albicore species.
Then, in swarms, appeared, gray mullet, covered with stripes of gold
from the head to the tail, beating their resplendent fins, like
masterpieces of jewelry, consecrated formerly to Diana, particularly
sought after by rich Romans, and of which the proverb says, "Whoever
takes them does not eat them."
    Lastly, pomacanthe dorees, ornamented with emerald bands,
dressed in velvet and silk passed before our eyes like Veronese lords;
spurred spari passed with their pectoral fins; clupanodons fifteen
inches long, enveloped in their phosphorescent light; mullet beat
the sea with their large jagged tail; red vendaces seemed to mow the
waves with their showy pectoral fins; and silvery selenes, worthy of
their name, rose on the horizon of the waters like so many moons
with whitish rays. April 20, we had risen to a mean height of 1,500
yards. The land nearest us then was the archipelago of the Bahamas.
There rose high submarine cliffs covered with large weeds, giant
laminariae and fuci, a perfect espalier of hydrophytes worthy of a
Titan world. It was about eleven o'clock when Ned Land drew my
attention to a formidable pricking, like a sting of an ant, which
was produced by means of large seaweeds.
    "Well," I said, "these are proper caverns for poulps, and I should
not be astonished to see some of these monsters."
    "What!" said Conseil; "cuttlefish, real cuttlefish, of the
cephalopod class?"
    "No," I said; "poulps of huge dimensions."
    "I will never believe that such animals exist," said Ned.
    "Well," said Conseil, with the most serious air in the world; "I
remember perfectly to have seen a large vessel drawn under the waves
by a cephalopod's arm."
    "You saw that?" said the Canadian.
    "Yes, Ned."
    "With your own eyes?"
    "With my own eyes."
    "Where, pray, might that be?"
    "At St. Malo," answered Conseil.
    "In the port?" said Ned, ironically.
    "No; in a church," replied Conseil.
    "In a church!" cried the Canadian.
    "Yes; friend Ned. In a picture representing the poulp in
    "Good!" said Ned Land, bursting out laughing.
    "He is quite right," I said. "I have heard of this picture; but
the subject represented is taken from a legend, and you know what to
think of legends in the matter of natural history. Besides, when it is
a question of monsters, the imagination is apt to run wild. Not only
is it supposed that these poulps can draw down vessels, but a
certain Olaus Magnus speaks of a cephalopod a mile long, that is
more like an island than an animal. It is also said that the Bishop of
Nidros was building an altar on an immense rock. Mass finished, the
rock began to walk, and returned to the sea. The rock was a poulp.
Another bishop, Pontoppidan, speaks also of a poulp on which a
regiment of cavalry could maneuver. Lastly, the ancient naturalists
speak of monsters whose mouths were like gulfs, and which were too
large to pass through the Straits of Gibraltar."
    "But how much is true of these stories?" asked Conseil.
    "Nothing, my friends; at least of that which passes the limit of
truth to get to fable or legend. Nevertheless, there must be some
ground for the imagination of the story-tellers. One cannot deny
that poulps and cuttlefish exist of a large species, inferior,
however, to the cetaceans. Aristotle had stated the dimensions of a
cuttlefish as five cubits, or nine feet two inches. Our fishermen
frequently see some that are more than four feet long. Some
skeletons of poulps are preserved in the museums of Trieste and
Montpellier, that measure two yards in length. Besides, according to
the calculations of some naturalists, one of these animals, only six
feet long, would have tentacles twenty-seven feet long. That would
suffice to make a formidable monster."
    "Do they fish for them in these days?" asked Ned.
    "If they do not fish for them, sailors see them at least. One of
my friends, Captain Paul Bos of Havre, has often affirmed that he
met one of these monsters, of colossal dimensions, in the Indian seas.
But the most astonishing fact, and which does not permit of the denial
of the existence of these gigantic animals, happened some years ago,
in 1861."
    "What is the fact?" asked Ned Land.
    "This is it. In 1861, to the north-east of Teneriffe, very
nearly in the same latitude we are in now, the crew of the despatch
boat Alector perceived a monstrous cuttlefish swimming in the
waters. Captain Bouguer went near to the animal, and attacked it
with harpoons and guns, without much success, for balls and harpoons
glided over the soft flesh. After several fruitless attempts, the crew
tried to pass a slip-knot round the body of the mollusk. The noose
slipped as far as the caudal fins, there stopped. They tried then to
haul it on board, but its weight was so considerable that the
tightness of the cord separated the tail from the body, and,
deprived of this ornament, he disappeared under the water."
    "Indeed! is that a fact?"
    "An indisputable fact, my good Ned. They proposed to name this
poulp 'Bouguer's cuttlefish.'"
    "What length was it?" asked the Canadian.
    "Did it not measure about six yards?" said Conseil, who, posted at
the window, was examining again the irregular windings of the cliff.
    "Precisely," I replied.
    "Its head," rejoined Conseil, "was it not crowned with eight
tentacles, that beat the water like a nest of serpents?"
    "Had not its eyes, placed at the back of its head, considerable
    "Yes, Conseil."
    "And was not its mouth like a parrot's beak?"
    "Exactly, Conseil."
    "Very well! no offence to master," he replied, quietly; "if this
is not Bouguer's cuttlefish, it is, at least one of its brothers."
    I looked at Conseil. Ned Land hurried to the window.
    "What a horrible beast!" he cried.
    I looked in my turn, and could not repress a gesture of disgust.
Before, my eyes was a horrible monster, worthy to figure in the
legends of the marvelous. It was an immense cuttlefish, being eight
yards long. It swam crossways in the direction of the Nautilus with
great speed, watching us with its enormous staring green eyes. Its
eight arms, or rather feet, fixed to its head, that have given the
name of cephalopod to these animals, were twice as long as its body,
and were twisted like the furies' hair. One could see the 250
air-holes on the inner side of the tentacles. The monster's mouth, a
horned beak like a parrot's, opened and shut vertically. Its tongue, a
horned substance, furnished with several rows of pointed teeth, came
out quivering from this veritable pair of shears.
    What a freak of nature, a bird's beak on a mollusk! Its
spindle-like body formed a fleshy mass that might weigh 4,000 to 5,000
lbs.; the varying color changing with great rapidity, according to the
irritation of the animal, passed successively from livid gray to
reddish brown. What irritated this mollusk? No doubt the presence of
the Nautilus, more formidable than itself, and on which its suckers or
its jaws had no hold. Yet, what monsters these poulps are! what
vitality the Creator has given them! what vigor in their movements!
and they possess three hearts! Chance had brought us in the presence
of this cuttlefish, and I did not wish to lose the opportunity of
carefully studying this specimen of cephalopods. I overcame the horror
that inspired me; and, taking a pencil, began to draw it.
    "Perhaps this is the same which the Alecto saw," said Conseil.
    "No," replied the Canadian; "for this is whole, and the other
had lost its tail."
    "That is no reason," I replied. "The arms and tails of these
animals are reformed by redintegration; and in seven years, the tail
of Bouguer's cuttlefish has no doubt had time to grow."
    By this time other poulps appeared at the port light. I counted
seven. They formed a procession after the Nautilus, and I heard
their beaks gnashing against the iron hull. I continued my work. These
monsters kept in the water with such precision, that they seemed
immovable. Suddenly the Nautilus stopped. A shock made it tremble in
every plate.
    "Have we struck anything?" I asked.
    "In any case," replied the Canadian, "we shall be free, for we are
    The Nautilus was floating, no doubt, but it did not move. A minute
passed. Captain Nemo, followed by his lieutenant, entered the
drawing-room. I had not seen him for some time. He seemed dull.
Without noticing or speaking to us, he went to the panel, looked at
the poulps, and said something to his lieutenant. The latter went out.
Soon the panels were shut. The ceiling was lighted. I went towards the
    "A curious collection of poulps?" I said.
    "Yes, indeed, Mr. Naturalist," he replied; "and we are going to
fight them, man to beast."
    I looked at him. I thought I had not heard aright.
    "Man to beast?" I repeated.
    "Yes, Sir. The screw is stopped. I think that the horny jaws of
one of the cuttlefish are entangled in the blades. That is what
prevents our moving."
    "What are you going to do?"
    "Rise to the surface, and slaughter this vermin."
    "A difficult enterprise."
    "Yes, indeed. The electric bullets are powerless against the
soft flesh, where they do not find resistance enough to go off. But we
shall attack them with the hatchet."
    "And the harpoon, Sir," said the Canadian, "if you do not refuse
my help."
    "I will accept it, Master Land."
    "We will follow you," I said, and following Captain Nemo, we
went towards the central staircase.
    There, about ten men with boarding hatchets were ready for the
attack. Conseil and I took two hatchets; Ned Land seized a harpoon.
The Nautilus had then risen to the surface. One of the sailors, posted
on the top ladderstep, unscrewed the bolts of the panels. But hardly
were the screws loosed, when the panel rose with great violence,
evidently drawn by the suckers of a poulp's arm. Immediately one of
these arms slid like a serpent down the opening, and twenty others
were above. With one blow of the axe, Captain Nemo cut this formidable
tentacle, that slid wriggling down the ladder. Just as we were
pressing one on the other to reach the platform, two other arms,
lashing the air, came down on the seaman placed before Captain Nemo,
and lifted him up with irresistible power. Captain Nemo uttered a cry,
and rushed out. We hurried after him.
    What a scene! The unhappy man, seized by the tentacle, and fixed
to the suckers, was balanced in the air at the caprice of this
enormous trunk. He rattled in his throat, he was stifled, he cried,
"Help! help!" These words, spoken in French, startled me! I had a
fellow countryman on board, perhaps several! That heartrending cry!
I shall hear it all my life. The unfortunate man was lost. Who could
rescue him from that powerful pressure? However, Captain Nemo had
rushed to the poulp, and with one blow of the axe had cut through
one arm. His lieutenant struggled furiously against other monsters
that crept on the flanks of the Nautilus. The crew fought with their
axes. The Canadian, Conseil, and I, buried our weapons in the fleshy
masses; a strong smell of musk penetrated the atmosphere. It was
    For one instant, I thought the unhappy man, entangled with the
poulp, would be torn from its powerful suction. Seven of the eight
arms had been cut off. One only wriggled in the air, brandishing the
victim like a feather. But just as Captain Nemo and his lieutenant
threw themselves on it, the animal ejected a stream of black liquid We
were blinded with it. When the cloud dispersed, the cuttlefish had
disappeared, and my unfortunate countryman with it. Ten or twelve
poulps now invaded the platform and sides of the Nautilus. We rolled
pell-mell into the nest of serpents that wriggled on the platform in
the waves of blood and ink. It seemed as though these slimy
tentacles sprang up like the hydra's heads. Ned Land's harpoon, at
each stroke, was plunged into the staring eyes of the cuttlefish.
But my bold companion was suddenly overturned by the tentacles of a
monster he had not been able to avoid.
    Ah! how my heart beat with emotion and horror! The formidable beak
of a cuttlefish was open over Ned Land. The unhappy man would be cut
in two. I rushed to his succor. But Captain Nemo was before me; his
axe disappeared between the two enormous jaws, and miraculously
saved the Canadian, rising, plunged his harpoon deep into the triple
heart of the poulp.
    "I owed myself this revenge!" said the captain to the Canadian.
    Ned bowed without replying. The combat had lasted a quarter of
an hour. The monsters, vanquished and mutilated, left us at last,
and disappeared under the waves. Captain Nemo, covered with blood,
nearly exhausted gazed upon the sea that had swallowed up one of his
companions, and great tears gathered in his eyes.
                          CHAPTER XIX.

                        THE GULF STREAM.

    THIS terrible scene of April 20 none of us can ever forget. I have
written it under the influence of violent emotion. Since then I have
revised the recital; I have read it to Conseil and to the Canadian.
They found it exact as to facts, but insufficient as to effect. To
paint such pictures, one must have the pen of the most illustrious
of our poets, the author of "The Toilers of the Deep."
    I have said that Captain Nemo wept while watching the waves; his
grief was great. It was the second companion he had lost since our
arrival on board, and what a death! That friend, crushed, stifled,
bruised by the dreadful arms of a poulp pounded by his iron jaws,
would not rest with his comrades in the peaceful coral cemetery! In
the midst of the struggle, it was the despairing cry uttered by the
unfortunate man that had torn my heart. The poor Frenchman, forgetting
his conventional language, had taken to his own mother tongue, to
utter a last appeal! Amongst the crew of the Nautilus, associated with
the body and soul of the Captain, recoiling like him from all
contact with men, I had a fellow countryman. Did he alone represent
France in this mysterious association, evidently composed of
individuals of diverse nationalities? It was one of these insoluble
problems that rose up unceasingly before my mind!
    Captain Nemo entered his room, and I saw him no more for some
time. But that he was sad and irresolute I could see by the vessel, of
which he was the soul, and which received all his impressions. The
Nautilus did not keep on in its settled course; it floated about
like a corpse at the will of the waves. It went at random. He could
not tear himself away from the scene of the last struggle, from this
sea that had devoured one of his men. Ten days passed thus. It was not
till May 1 that the Nautilus resumed its northerly course, after
having sighted the Bahamas at the mouth of the Bahama Canal. We were
then following the current from the largest river to the sea, that has
its banks, its fish, and its proper temperatures. I mean the Gulf
Stream. It is really a river, that flows freely to the middle of the
Atlantic, and whose waters do not mix with the ocean waters. It is a
salt river, salter than the surrounding sea. Its mean depth is 1,500
fathoms, its mean breadth ten miles. In certain places the current
flows with the speed of two miles and a half an hour. The body of
its waters is more considerable than that of all the rivers in the
globe. It was on this ocean river that the Nautilus then sailed.
    This current carried with it all kinds of living things.
Argonauts, so common in the Mediterranean, were there in quantities.
Of the gristly sort, the most remarkable were the turbot, whose
slender tails form nearly the third part of the body, and that
looked like large lozenges twenty-five feet long; also, small sharks a
yard long, with large heads, short rounded muzzles, pointed teeth in
several rows, and whose bodies seemed covered with scales. Among the
bony fish I noticed some gray gobies, peculiar to these waters;
black giltheads, whose iris shone like fire; sirenes a yard long, with
large snouts thickly set with little teeth, that uttered little cries;
blue coryphaenes, in gold and silver; parrots, like the rainbows of
the ocean, that could rival in color the most beautiful tropical
birds; blennies with triangular heads; bluish rhombs destitute of
scales; batrachoides covered with yellow transversal bands like a
Greek T; heaps of little gobies spotted with yellow; dipterodons
with silvery heads and yellow tails; several specimens of salmon,
mugilomores slender in shape, shining with a soft light that
Lacepede consecrated to the service of his wife; and lastly, a
beautiful fish, the American knight, that, decorated with all the
orders and ribbons, frequents the shores of this great nation, that
esteems orders and ribbons so little.
    I must add that, during the night, the phosphorescent waters of
the Gulf Stream rivaled the electric power of our watchlight,
especially in the stormy weather that threatened us so frequently. May
8, we were still crossing Cape Hatteras, at the height of the North
Caroline. The width of the Gulf Stream there is seventy-five miles,
and its depth 210 yards. The Nautilus still went at random; all
supervision seemed abandoned. I thought that, under these
circumstances, escape would be possible. Indeed, the inhabited
shores offered anywhere an easy refuge. The sea was incessantly
ploughed by the steamers that ply between New York or Boston and the
Gulf of Mexico, and overrun day and night by the little schooners
coasting about the several parts of the American coast. We could
hope to be picked up.
    It was a favorable opportunity, notwithstanding the thirty miles
that separated the Nautilus from the coasts of the Union. One
unfortunate circumstance thwarted the Canadian's plans. The weather
was very bad. We were nearing those shores where tempests are so
frequent, that country of waterspouts and cyclones actually engendered
by the current of the Gulf Stream. To tempt the sea in a frail boat
was certain destruction. Ned Land owned this himself. He fretted,
seized with nostalgia that flight only could cure.
    "Master," he said that day to me, "this must come to an end. I
must make a clean breast of it. This Nemo is leaving land and going up
to the north. But I declare to you, I have had enough of the South
Pole, and I will not follow him to the North."
    "What is to be done, Ned, since flight is impracticable just now?"
    "We must speak to the captain," said he; "you said nothing when we
were in your native seas. I will speak, now we are in mine. When I
think that before long the Nautilus will be by Nova Scotia, and that
there near Newfoundland is a large bay, and into that bay the St.
Lawrence empties itself, and that the St. Lawrence is my river, the
river by Quebec my native town,- when I think of this, I feel furious,
it makes my hair stand on end. Sir, I would rather throw myself into
the sea! I will not stay here! I am stifled!"
    The Canadian was evidently losing all patience. His vigorous
nature could not stand this prolonged imprisonment. His face altered
daily; his temper became more surly. I knew what he must suffer, for I
was seized with nostalgia myself. Nearly seven months had passed
without our having had any news from land; Captain Nemo's isolation,
his altered spirits, especially since the fight with the poulps, his
taciturnity, all made me view things in a different light.
    "Well, Sir?" said Ned, seeing I did not reply.
    "Well, Ned! do you wish me to ask Captain Nemo his intentions
concerning us?"
    "Yes, Sir."
    "Although he has already made them known?"
    "Yes; I wish it settled finally. Speak for me, in my name only, if
you like."
    "But I so seldom meet him. He avoids me."
    "That is all the more reason for you to go to see him."
    I went to my room. From thence I meant to go to Captain Nemo's. It
would not do to let this opportunity of meeting him slip. I knocked at
the door. No answer. I knocked again, then turned the handle. The door
opened, I went in. The captain was there. Bending over his
worktable, he had not heard me. Resolved not to go without having
spoken, I approached him. He raised his head quickly, frowned, and
said roughly, "You here! What do you want?"
    "To speak to you, Captain."
    "But I am busy, Sir; am working. I leave you at liberty to shut
yourself up; cannot I be allowed the same?"
    This reception was not encouraging; but I was determined to hear
and answer everything.
    "Sir," I said, coldly, "I have to speak to you on a matter that
admits of no delay."
    "What is that, Sir?", he replied, ironically. "Have you discovered
something that has escaped me, or has the sea delivered up any new
    We were at cross-purposes. But before I could reply, he showed
me an open manuscript on his table, and said, in a more serious
tone, "Here, M. Aronnax, is a manuscript written in several languages.
It contains the sum of my studies of the sea; and, if it please God,
it shall not perish with me. This manuscript, signed with my name,
completed with the history of my life, will be shut up in a little
insubmersible case. The last survivor of all of us on board the
Nautilus will throw this case into the sea, and it will go whither
it is borne by the waves."
    This man's name! his history written by himself! His mystery would
then be revealed some day.
    "Captain," I said, "I can but approve of the idea that makes you
act thus. The result of your studies must not be lost. But the means
you employ seem to me to be primitive. Who knows where the winds
will carry this case, and in whose hands it will fall? Could you not
use some other means? Could not you, or one of yours"-
    "Never, Sir!" he said, hastily interrupting me.
    "But I and my companions are ready to keep this manuscript in
store; and, if you will put us at liberty"-
    "At liberty?" said the captain, rising.
    "Yes, Sir; that is the subject on which I wish to question you.
For seven months we have been here on board, and I ask you today, in
the name of my companions, and in my own, if your intention is to keep
us here always?"
    "M. Aronnax, I will answer you today as I did seven months ago:
Whoever enters the Nautilus must never quit it."
    "You impose actual slavery on us!"
    "Give it what name you please."
    "But everywhere the slave has the right to regain his liberty."
    "Who denies you this right? Have I ever tried to chain you with an
    He looked at me with his arms crossed.
    "Sir," I said, "to return a second time to this subject will be
neither to your nor to my taste; but, as we have entered upon it,
let us go through with it. I repeat, it is not only myself whom it
concerns. Study is to me a relief, a diversion, a passion that could
make me forget everything. Like you, I am willing to live obscure,
in the frail hope of bequeathing one day, to future time, the result
of my labors. But it is otherwise with Ned Land. Every man, worthy
of the name, deserves some consideration. Have you thought that love
of liberty, hatred of slavery, can give rise to schemes of revenge
in a nature like the Canadian's; that he could think, attempt, and
    I was silenced; Captain Nemo rose.
    "Whatever Ned Land thinks of, attempts, or tries, what does it
matter to me? I did not seek him! It is not for my pleasure that I
keep him on board! As for you, M. Aronnax, you are one of those who
can understand everything, even silence. I have nothing more to say to
you. Let this first time you have come to treat of this subject be the
last; for a second time I will not listen to you."
    I retired. Our situation was critical. I related my conversation
to my two companions.
    "We know now," said Ned, "that we can expect nothing from this
man. The Nautilus is nearing Long Island. We will escape, whatever the
weather may be."
    But the sky became more and more threatening. Symptoms of a
hurricane became manifest. The atmosphere was becoming white and
misty. On the horizon fine streaks of cirrhous clouds were succeeded
by masses of cumuli. Other low clouds passed swiftly by. The swollen
sea rose in huge billows. The birds disappeared, with the exception of
the petrels, those friends of the storm. The barometer fell
sensibly, and indicated an extreme tension of the vapors. The
mixture of the storm glass was decomposed under the influence of the
electricity that pervaded the atmosphere. The tempest burst on May 18,
just as the Nautilus was floating off Long Island, some miles from the
port of New York. I can describe this strife of the elements! for,
instead of fleeing to the depths of the sea, Captain Nemo, by an
unaccountable caprice, would brave it at the surface.
    The wind blew from the south-west at first. Captain Nemo, during
the squalls, had taken his place on the platform. He had made
himself fast, to prevent being washed overboard by the monstrous
waves. I had hoisted myself up, and made myself fast also, dividing my
admiration between the tempest and this extraordinary man who was
coping with it. The raging sea was swept by huge cloud-drifts, which
were actually saturated with the waves. The Nautilus, sometimes
lying on its side sometimes standing up like a mast, rolled and
pitched terribly.
    About five o'clock a torrent of rain fell that lulled neither
sea nor wind. The hurricane blew nearly forty leagues an hour It is
under these conditions that it overturns houses, breaks iron gates,
displaces twenty-four pounders. However, the Nautilus, in the midst of
the tempet, confirmed the words of a clever engineer, "There is no
well-constructed hull that cannot defy the sea." This was not a
resisting rock; it was a steel spindle, obedient and movable,
without rigging or masts that braved its fury with impunity.
However, I watched these raging waves attentively. They measured
fifteen feet in height, and 150 to 175 yards long, and their speed
of propagation was thirty feet per second. Their bulk and power
increased with the depth of the water. Such waves as these, at the
Hebrides, have displaced a mass weighing 8,400 lbs. They are they
which, in the tempest of December 23, 1864, after destroying the
town of Yeddo, in Japan, broke the same day on the shores of America.
    The intensity of the tempest increased with the night. The
barometer, as in 1860 at Reunion during a cyclone, fell seven-tenths
at the close of day. I saw a large vessel pass the horizon
struggling painfully. She was trying to lie to under half steam, to
keep up above the waves. It was probably one of the steamers of the
line from New York to Liverpool, or Havre. It soon disappeared in
the gloom. At ten o'clock in the evening the sky was on fire. The
atmosphere was streaked with vivid lightning. I could not bear the
brightness of it; while the captain, looking at it, seemed to envy the
spirit of the tempest.
    A terrible noise filled the air, a complex noise, made up of the
howls of the crushed waves, the roaring of the wind, and the peals
of thunder. The wind veered suddenly to all points of the horizon; and
the cyclone, rising in the east, returned after passing by the
north, west, and south, in the inverse course pursued by the
circular storms of the southern hemisphere. Ah, that Gulf Stream! It
deserves its name of the King of Tempests. It is that which causes
those formidable cyclones, by the difference of temperature between
its air and its currents. A shower of fire had succeeded the rain. The
drops of water were changed to sharp spikes. One would have thought
that Captain Nemo was courting a death worthy of himself, a death by
    As the Nautilus, pitching dreadfully, raised its steel spur in the
air, it seemed to act as a conductor, and I saw long sparks burst from
it. Crushed and without strength, I crawled to the panel, opened it,
and descended to the saloon. The storm was then at its height. It
was impossible to stand upright in the interior of the Nautilus.
Captain Nemo came down about twelve. I heard the reservoirs filling by
degrees, and the Nautilus sank slowly beneath the waves. Through the
open windows in the saloon I saw large fish terrified, passing like
phantoms in the water. Some were struck before my eyes. The Nautilus
was still descending. I thought that at about eight fathoms deep we
should find a calm. But no the upper beds were too violently
agitated for that. We had to seek repose at more than twenty-five
fathoms in the bowels of the deep. But there, what quiet, what
silence, what peace! Who could have told that such a hurricane had
been let loose on the surface of that ocean?
                           CHAPTER XX.


    IN CONSEQUENCE of the storm, we had been thrown eastward ward once
more. All hope of escape on the shores of New York or St. Lawrence had
faded away; and poor Ned, in despair, had isolated himself like
Captain Nemo. Conseil and I, however, never left each other. I said
that the Nautilus had gone aside to the east. I should have said (to
be more exact), the northeast. For some days, it wandered first on the
surface, and then beneath it, amid those fogs so dreaded by sailors.
What accidents are due to these thick fogs! What shocks upon these
reefs when the wind drowns the breaking of the waves! What
collisions between vessels, in spite of their warning lights,
whistles, and alarm bells! And the bottoms of these seas look like a
field of battle, where still lie all the conquered of the ocean;
some old and already encrusted, others fresh and reflecting from their
iron bands and copperplates the brilliancy of our lantern.
    On May 15, we were at the extreme south of the Bank of
Newfoundland. This bank consists of alluvia, or large heaps of organic
matter, brought either from the Equator by the Gulf Stream, or from
the North Pole by the counter current of cold water which skirts the
American coast. There also are heaped up those erratic blocks which
are carried along by the broken ice; and close by, a vast
charnel-house of mollusks or zoophytes, which perish here by millions.
The depth of the sea is not great at Newfoundland- not more than
some hundreds of fathoms; but towards the south is a depression of
1,500 fathoms. There the Gulf Stream widens. It loses some of its
speed and some of its temperature, but it becomes a sea.
    It was on May 17, about 500 miles from Heart's Content, at a depth
of more than 1,400 fathoms, that I saw the electric cable lying on the
bottom. Conseil, to whom I had not mentioned it, thought at first that
it was a gigantic sea serpent. But I undeceived the worthy fellow, and
by way of consolation related several particulars in the laying of
this cable. The first one was laid in the years 1857 and 1858; but,
after transmitting about 400 telegrams, would not act any longer. In
1863, the engineers constructed another one, measuring 2,000 miles
in length, and weighing 4,500 tons, which was embarked on the Great
Eastern. This attempt also failed.
    On May 25, the Nautilus, being at a depth of more than 1,918
fathoms, was on the precise spot where the rupture occurred which
ruined the enterprise. It was within 638 miles of the coast of
Ireland; and at half-past two in the afternoon, they discovered that
communication with Europe had ceased. The electricians on board
resolved to cut the cable before fishing it up, and at eleven
o'clock at night they had recovered the damaged part. They made
another point and spliced it, and it was once more submerged. But some
days after it broke again, and in the depths of the ocean could not be
recaptured. The Americans, however, were not discouraged.
    Cyrus W. Field, the bold promoter of the enterprise, as he had
sunk all his own fortune, set a new subscription on foot, which was at
once answered, and another cable was constructed on better principles.
The bundles of conducting wires were each enveloped in gutta-percha,
and protected by a wadding of hemp, contained in a metallic
covering. The Great Eastern sailed on July 13, 1866. The operation
worked well. But one incident occurred. Several times in unrolling the
cable they observed that nails had been recently forced into it,
evidently with the motive of destroying it. Captain Anderson, the
officers, and engineers, consulted together, and had it posted up that
if the offender was surprised on board, he would be thrown without
further trial into the sea. From that time the criminal attempt was
never repeated.
    On July 23, the Great Eastern was not more than 500 miles from
Newfoundland, when they telegraphed from Ireland news of the armistice
concluded between Prussia and Austria after Sadowa. On July 27, in the
midst of heavy fogs, they reached the port of Heart's Content. The
enterprise was successfully terminated; and for its first despatch,
young America addressed old Europe in these words of wisdom so
rarely understood- "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,
goodwill toward men."
    I did not expect to find the electric cable in its primitive
state, such as it was on leaving the manufactory. The long serpent,
covered with the remains of shells, bristling with foraminiferae,
was encrusted with a strong coating which served as a protection
against all boring mollusks. It lay quietly sheltered from the motions
of the sea, and under a favorable pressure for the transmission of the
electric spark which passes from Europe to America in .32 of a second.
Doubtless this cable will last for a great length of time, for they
find that the gutta-percha covering is improved by the sea water.
Besides, on this level, so well chosen, the cable is never so deeply
submerged as to cause it to break. The Nautilus followed it to the
lowest depth, which was more than 2,212 fathoms, and there it lay
without any anchorage; and then we reached the spot where the accident
had taken place in 1863. The bottom of the ocean then formed a
valley about 100 miles broad, in which Mont Blanc might have been
placed without its summit appearing above the waves. This valley is
closed at the east by a perpendicular wall more than 2,000 yards high.
We arrived there on May 28, and the Nautilus was then more than 120
miles from Ireland.
    Was Captain Nemo going to land on the British Isles? No. To my
great surprise he made for the south, once more coming back towards
European seas. In rounding the Emerald Isle, for one instant I
caught sight of Cape Clear, and the light which guides the thousands
of vessels leaving Glasgow or Liverpool. An important question then
arose in my mind. Did the Nautilus dare entangle itself in the Manche?
Ned Land, who had reappeared since we had been nearing land, did not
cease to question me. How could I answer? Captain Nemo remained
invisible. After having shown the Canadian a glimpse of American
shores, was he going to show me the coast of France?
    But the Nautilus was still going southward. On May 30, it passed
in sight of the Land's End, between the extreme point of England and
the Scilly Isles, which were left to starboard. If he wished to
enter the Manche he must go straight to the east. He did not do so.
    During the whole of May 31, the Nautilus described a series of
circles on the water, which greatly interested me. It seemed to be
seeking a spot it had some trouble in finding. At noon, Captain Nemo
himself came to work the ship's log. He spoke no word to me, but
seemed gloomier than ever. What could sadden him thus? Was it his
proximity to European shores? Had he some recollections of his
abandoned country? If not, what did he feel? Remorse or regret? For
a long while this thought haunted my mind, and I had a kind of
presentiment that before long chance would betray the captain's
    The next day, June 1, the Nautilus continued the same process.
It was evidently seeking some particular spot in the ocean. Captain
Nemo took the sun's altitude as he had done the day before. The sea
was beautiful, the sky clear. About eight miles to the east, a large
steam vessel could be discerned on the horizon. No flag fluttered from
its mast, and I could not discover its nationality. Some minutes
before the sun passed the meridian, Captain Nemo took his sextant, and
watched with great attention. The perfect rest of the water greatly
helped the operation. The Nautilus was motionless; it neither rolled
nor pitched.
    I was on the platform when the altitude was taken, and the captain
pronounced these words- "It is here."
    He turned and went below. Had he seen the vessel which was
changing its course and seemed to be nearing us? I could not tell. I
returned to the saloon. The panels closed, I heard the hissing of
the water in the reservoirs. The Nautilus began to sink, following a
vertical line, for its screw communicated no motion to it. Some
minutes later it stopped at a depth of more than 420 fathoms,
resting on the ground. The luminous ceiling was darkened, then the
panels were opened, and through the glass I saw the sea brilliantly
illuminated by the rays of our lantern for at least half a mile
round us.
    I looked to the port side, and saw nothing but an immensity of
quiet waters. But to starboard, on the bottom appeared a large
protuberance which at once attracted my attention. One would have
thought it a ruin buried under a coating of white shells, much
resembling a covering of snow. Upon examining the mass attentively,
I could recognize the ever thickening form of a vessel bare of its
masts, which must have sunk. It certainly belonged to past times. This
wreck, to be thus encrusted with the lime of the water, must already
be able to count many years passed at the bottom of the ocean.
    What was this vessel? Why did the Nautilus visit its tomb? Could
it have been aught but a shipwreck which had drawn it under the water?
I knew not what to think, when near me in a slow voice I heard Captain
Nemo say:
    "At one time this ship was called the Marseillais. It carried
seventy-four guns, and was launched in 1762. In 1778, August 13,
commanded by La Poype-Vertrieux, it fought boldly against the Preston.
In 1779, on July 4, it was at the taking of Grenada, with the squadron
of Admiral Estaing. In 1781, on September 5, it took part in the
battle of Comte de Grasse, in Chesapeake Bay. In 1794, the French
Republic changed its name. On April 6, in the same year, it joined the
squadron of Villaret Joyeuse, at Brest, being entrusted with the
escort of a cargo of corn coming from America, under the command of
Admiral Van Stabel. On the eleventh and twelfth Prairial of the second
year, this squadron fell in with an English vessel. Sir, today is
the thirteenth Prairial, June 1, 1868. It is now seventy-four years
ago, day for day on this very spot, in latitude 47 degrees 24',
longitude 17 degrees 28', that this vessel after fighting
heroically, losing its three masts, with the water in its hold, and
the third of its crew disabled, preferred sinking with its 356 sailors
to surrendering; and nailing its colors to the poop, disappeared under
the waves to the cry of 'Long live the Republic!'"
    "The Avenger!" I exclaimed.
    "Yes, Sir, the Avenger! A good name!" muttered Captain Nemo,
crossing his arms.
                          CHAPTER XXI.

                           A HECATOMB.

    THE WAY of describing this unlooked-for scene, the history of
the patriot ship, told at first so coldly, and the emotion with
which this strange man pronounced the last words, the name of the
Avenger, the significance of which could not escape me, all
impressed itself deeply on my mind. My eyes did not leave the captain;
who, with his hand stretched out to sea, was watching with a glowing
eye the glorious wreck. Perhaps I was never to know who he was, whence
he came, or where he was going, but I saw the man move, and apart from
the savant. It was no common misanthropy which had shut Captain Nemo
and his companions within the Nautilus, but a hatred, either monstrous
or sublime, which time could never weaken. Did this hatred still
seek for vengeance? The future would soon teach me that. But the
Nautilus was rising slowly to the surface of the sea, and the form
of the Avenger disappeared by degrees from my sight. Soon a slight
rolling told me that we were in the open air. At that moment a dull
boom was heard. I looked at the captain. He did not move.
    "Captain?" said I.
    He did not answer. I left him and mounted the platform. Conseil
and the Canadian were already there.
    "Where did that sound come from?" I asked.
    "It was a gunshot," replied Ned Land.
    I looked in the direction of the vessel I had already seen. It was
nearing the Nautilus, and we could see that it was putting on steam.
It was within six miles of us.
    "What is that ship, Ned?"
    "By its rigging, and the height of its lower masts," said the
Canadian, "I bet she is a ship of war. May it reach us; and, if
necessary, sink this cursed Nautilus."
    "Friend Ned," replied Conseil, "what harm can it do to the
Nautilus? Can it attack it beneath the waves? Can it cannonade us at
the bottom of the sea?"
    "Tell me, Ned," said I, "can you recognize what country she
belongs to?"
    The Canadian knitted his eyebrows, dropped his eyelids, and
screwed up the corners of his eyes, and for a few moments fixed a
piercing look upon the vessel.
    "No, Sir," he replied; "I cannot tell what nation she belongs
to, for she shows no colors. But I can declare she is a man-of-war,
for a long pennant flutters from her mainmast."
    For a quarter of an hour we watched the ship which was steaming
toward us. I could not however believe that she could see the Nautilus
from that distance; and still less, that she could know what this
submarine engine was. Soon the Canadian informed me that she was a
large armored two-decker ram. A thick black smoke was pouring from her
two funnels. Her closely furled sails were stopped to her yards. She
hoisted no flag at her mizzenpeak. The distance prevented us from
distinguishing the colors of her pennant, which floated like a thin
ribbon. She advanced rapidly. If Captain Nemo allowed her to approach,
there was a chance of salvation for us.
    "Sir," said Ned Land, "if that vessel passes within a mile of
us, I shall throw myself into the sea, and I should advise you to do
the same."
    I did not reply to the Canadian's suggestion, but continued
watching the ship. Whether English, French, American, or Russian,
she would be sure to take us in if we could only reach her.
Presently a white smoke burst from the fore part of the vessel; some
seconds after the water, agitated by the fall of a heavy body,
splashed the stern of the Nautilus, and shortly afterwards a loud
explosion struck my ear.
    "What! they are firing at us!" I exclaimed.
    "So please you, Sir," said Ned, "they have recognized the unicorn,
and they are firing at us."
    "But," I exclaimed, "surely they can see that there are men in the
    "It is, perhaps, because of that," replied Ned Land, looking at
    A whole flood of light burst upon my mind. Doubtless they knew now
how to believe the stories of the pretended monster. No doubt, on
board the Abraham Lincoln, when the Canadian struck it with the
harpoon, Commander Farragut had recognized in the supposed narwhal a
submarine vessel, more dangerous than a supernatural cetacean. Yes, it
must have been so; and on every sea they were now seeking this
engine of destruction. Terrible indeed! if, as we supposed, Captain
Nemo employed the Nautilus in works of vengeance. On the night when we
were imprisoned in that cell, in the midst of the Indian Ocean, had he
not attacked some vessel? The man buried in the coral cemetery, had he
not been a victim to the shock caused by the Nautilus? Yes, I repeat
it, it must be so. One part of the mysterious existence of Captain
Nemo had been unveiled; and, if his identity had not been
recognized, at least, the nations united against him were no longer
hunting a chimerical creature, but a man who had vowed a deadly hatred
against them. All the formidable past rose before me. Instead of
meeting friends on board the approaching ship, we could only expect
pitiless enemies. But the shot rattled about us. Some of them struck
the sea and ricocheted, losing themselves in the distance. But none
touched the Nautilus. The vessel was not more than three miles from
us. In spite of the serious cannonade, Captain Nemo did not appear
on the platform; but, if one of the conical projectiles had struck the
shell of the Nautilus, it would have been fatal. The Canadian then
said, "Sir, we must do all we can to get out of this dilemma. Let us
signal them. They will then, perhaps, understand that we are honest
    Ned Land took his handkerchief to wave in the air; but he had
scarcely displayed it when he was struck down by an iron hand, and
fell, in spite of his great strength, upon the deck.
    "Fool!" exclaimed the captain, "do you wish to be pierced by the
spur of the Nautilus before it is hurled at this vessel?"
    Captain Nemo was terrible to hear; he was still more terrible to
see. His face was deadly pale, with a spasm at his heart. For an
instant it must have ceased to beat. His pupils were fearfully
contracted. He did not speak, he roared, as, with his body thrown
forward he wrung the Canadian's shoulders. Then, leaving him, and
turning to the ship of war, whose shot was still raining around him,
he exclaimed, with a powerful voice, "Ah, ship of an accursed
nation, you know who I am! I do not want your colors to know you by!
Look! and I will show you mine!"
    And on the fore part of the platform Captain Nemo unfurled a black
flag, similar to the one he had placed at the South Pole. At that
moment a shot struck the shell of the Nautilus obliquely, without
piercing it; and, rebounding near the captain, was lost in the sea. He
shrugged his shoulders; and addressing me, said shortly, "Go down, you
and your companions, go down!"
    "Sir," I exclaimed, "are you going to attack this vessel?"
    "Sir, I am going to sink it."
    "You will not do that?"
    "I shall do it," he replied coldly. "And I advise you not to judge
me, Sir. Fate has shown you what you ought not to have seen. The
attack has begun; go down."
    "What is this vessel?"
    "You do not know? Very well! so much the better! Its nationality
to you, at least, will be a secret. Go down!"
    We could but obey. About fifteen of the sailors surrounded the
captain, looking with implacable hatred at the vessel nearing them.
One could feel that the same desire of vengeance animated every
soul. I went down at the moment another projectile struck the
Nautilus, and I heard the captain exclaim:
    "Strike, mad vessel! Shower your useless shot! And then, you
will not escape the spur of the Nautilus. But it is not here that
you shall perish! I would not have your ruins mingle with those of the
    I reached my room. The captain and his second had remained on
the platform. The screw was set in motion, and the Nautilus, moving
with speed, was soon beyond the reach of the ship's guns. But the
pursuit continued, and Captain Nemo contented himself with keeping his
    About four in the afternoon, being no longer able to contain my
impatience, I went to the central staircase. The panel was open, and I
ventured on to the platform. The captain was still walking up and down
with an agitated step. He was looking at the ship, which was five or
six miles to leeward.
    He was going round it like a wild beast, and drawing it
eastward, he allowed them to pursue. But he did not attack. Perhaps he
still hesitated? I wished to mediate once more. But I had scarcely
spoken, when Captain Nemo imposed silence, saying:
    "I am the law, and I am the judge! I am the oppressed, and there
is the oppressor! Through him I have lost all that I loved, cherished,
and venerated,- country, wife, children, father, and mother. I saw all
perish! All that I hate is there! Say no more!"
    I cast a last look at the man-of-war, which was putting on
steam, and rejoined Ned and Conseil.
    "We will fly!" I exclaimed.
    "Good!" said Ned. "What is this vessel?"
    "I do not know; but whatever it is, it will be sunk before
night. In any case, it is better to perish with it, than be made
accomplices in a retaliation, the justice of which we cannot judge."
    "That is my opinion too," said Ned Land, coolly. "Let us wait
for night."
    Night arrived. Deep silence reigned on board. The compass showed
that the Nautilus had not altered its course. It was on the surface,
rolling slightly. My companions and I resolved to fly when the
vessel should be near enough either to hear us or to see us; for the
moon, which would be full in two or three days, shone brightly. Once
on board the ship, if we could not prevent the blow which threatened
it, we could, at least we would, do all that circumstances would
allow. Several times I thought the Nautilus was preparing for
attack; but Captain Nemo contented himself with allowing his adversary
to approach, and then fled once more before it.
    Part of the night passed without any incident. We watched the
opportunity for action. We spoke little, for we were too much moved.
Ned Land would have thrown himself into the sea, but I forced him to
wait. According to my idea, the Nautilus would attack the ship at
her water line, and then it would not only be possible, but easy to
    At three in the morning, full of uneasiness, I mounted the
platform. Captain Nemo had not left it. He was standing at the fore
part near his flag, which a slight breeze displayed above his head. He
did not take his eyes from the vessel. The intensity of his look
seemed to attract and fascinate and draw it onward more surely than if
he had been towing it. The moon was then passing the meridian. Jupiter
was rising in the east. Amid this peaceful scene of nature, sky and
ocean rivaled each other in tranquility, the sea offering to the
orbs of night the finest mirror they could ever have in which to
reflect their image. As I thought of the deep calm of these
elements, compared with all those passions brooding imperceptibly.
within the Nautilus, I shuddered.
    The vessel was within two miles of us. It was ever nearing that
phosphorescent light which showed the presence of the Nautilus. I
could see its green and red lights, and its white lantern hanging from
the large foremast. An indistinct vibration quivered through its
rigging, showing that the furnaces were heated to the uttermost.
Sheaves of sparks and red ashes flew from the funnels, shining in
the atmosphere like stars.
    I remained thus until six in the morning, without Captain Nemo
noticing me. The ship stood about a mile and a half from us, and
with the first dawn of day the firing began afresh. The moment could
not be far off when, the Nautilus attacking its adversary, my
companions and myself should forever leave this man. I was preparing
to go down to remind them, when the second mounted the platform,
accompanied by several sailors. Captain Nemo either did not, or
would not, see them. Some steps were taken which might be called the
signal for action. They were very simple. The iron balustrade around
the platform was lowered, and the lantern and pilot cages were
pushed within the shell until they were flush with the deck. The
long surface of the steel cigar no longer offered a single point to
check its maneuvers. I returned to the saloon. The Nautilus still
floated; some streaks of light were filtering through the liquid beds.
With the undulations of the waves, the windows were brightened by
the red streaks of the rising sun, and this dreadful day of June 2 had
    At five o'clock, the log showed that the speed of the Nautilus was
slackening, and I knew that it was allowing them to draw nearer.
Besides, the reports were heard more distinctly, and the
projectiles, laboring through the ambient water, were distinguished
with a strange hissing noise.
    "My friends," said I, "the moment has come. One grasp of the hand,
and may God protect us!" Ned Land was resolute, Conseil calm, myself
so nervous that I knew not how to contain myself. We all passed into
the library; but the moment I pushed the door opening on to the
central staircase, I heard the upper panel close sharply. The Canadian
rushed on to the stairs, but I stopped him. A well-known hissing noise
told me that the water was running into the reservoirs, and in a few
minutes the Nautilus was some yards beneath the surface of the
waves. I understood the maneuver. It was too late to act. The Nautilus
did not wish to strike at the impenetrable cuirass, but below the
water line, where the metallic covering no longer protected it.
    We were again imprisoned, unwilling witnesses of the dreadful
drama that was preparing. We had scarcely time to reflect; taking
refuge in my room, we looked at each other without speaking. A deep
stupor had taken hold of my mind: thought seemed to stand still. I was
in that painful state of expectation preceding a dreadful report. I
waited, I listened, every sense was merged in that of hearing! The
speed of the Nautilus was accelerated. It was preparing to rush. The
whole ship trembled. Suddenly I screamed. I felt the shock, but
comparatively light. I felt the penetrating power of the steel spur. I
heard rattlings and scrapings. But the Nautilus, carried along by
its propelling power, passed through the mass of the vessel, like a
needle through sailcloth!
    I could stand it no longer. Mad, out of my mind, I rushed from
my room into the saloon. Captain Nemo was there, mute, gloomy,
implacable; he was looking through the port panel. A large mass cast a
shadow on the water; and that it might lose nothing of her agony,
the Nautilus was going down into the abyss with her. Ten yards from me
I saw the open shell through which the water was rushing with the
noise of thunder, then the double line of guns and the netting. The
bridge was covered with black agitated shadows.
    The water was rising. The poor creatures were crowding the
rattlings, clinging to the masts, struggling under the water. It was a
human ant heap overtaken by the sea. Paralyzed, stiffened with
anguish, my hair standing on end, with eyes wide open, panting,
without breath, and without voice, I, too, was watching! An
irresistible attraction glued me to the glass! Suddenly an explosion
took place. The compressed air blew up her decks, as if the
magazines had caught fire. Then the unfortunate vessel sank more
rapidly. Her topmast, laden with victims, now appeared; then her
spars, bending under the weight of men; and last of all, the top of
her mainmast. Then the dark mass disappeared, and with it the dead
crew, drawn down by the strong eddy.
    I turned to Captain Nemo. That terrible avenger, a perfect
archangel of hatred, was still looking. When all was over, he turned
to his room, opened the door, and entered. I followed him with, my
eyes. On the end wall beneath his heroes, I saw the portrait of a
woman still young, and two little children. Captain Nemo looked at
them for some moments, stretched his arms toward them, and kneeling
down burst into deep sobs.
                          CHAPTER XXII.


    THE panels had closed on this dreadful vision, but light had not
returned to the saloon: all was silence and darkness within the
Nautilus. At wonderful speed, a hundred feet beneath the water, it was
leaving this desolate spot. Whither was it going? to the north or
south? Where was the man flying to after such dreadful retaliation?
I had returned to my room, where Ned and Conseil had remained silent
enough. I felt an insurmountable horror for Captain Nemo. Whatever
he had suffered at the hands of these men, he had no right to punish
thus. He had made me, if not an accomplice, at least a witness of
his vengeance. At eleven the electric light reappeared. I passed
into the saloon. It was deserted. I consulted the different
instruments. The Nautilus was flying northward at the rate of
twenty-five miles an hour, now on the surface, and now thirty feet
below it. On taking the bearings by the chart, I saw that we were
passing the mouth of the Manche, and that our course was hurrying us
toward the northern seas at a frightful speed. That night we had
crossed two hundred leagues of the Atlantic. The shadows fell, and the
sea was covered with darkness until the rising of the moon. I went
to my room, but could not sleep. I was troubled with dreadful
nightmare. The horrible scene of destruction was continual before my
    From that day, who could tell into what part of the North Atlantic
basin the Nautilus would take us? Still, with unaccountable speed.
Still in the midst of these northern fogs. Would it touch at
Spitzbergen, or on the shores of Nova Zembla? Should we explore
those unknown seas, the White Sea, the Sea of Kara, the Gulf of Obi,
the Archipelago of Liarrov, and the unknown coast of Asia? I could not
say. I could no longer judge of the time that was passing. The
clocks had been stopped on board. It seemed, as in polar countries,
that night and day no longer followed their regular course. I felt
myself being drawn into that strange region where the foundered
imagination of Edgar Poe roamed at will. Like the fabulous Gordon Pym,
at every moment I expected to see "that veiled human figure, of larger
proportions than those of any inhabitant of the earth, thrown across
the cataract which defends the approach to the pole." I estimated
(though, perhaps, I may be mistaken),- I estimated this adventurous
course of the Nautilus to have lasted fifteen or twenty days. And I
know not how much longer it might have lasted, had it not been for the
catastrophe which ended this voyage.
    Of Captain Nemo I saw nothing whatever now, nor of his second. Not
a man of the crew was visible for an instant. The Nautilus was
almost incessantly under water. When we came to the surface to renew
the air, the panels opened and shut mechanically. There were no more
marks on the planisphere. I knew not where we were. And the, Canadian,
too, his strength and patience at an end, appeared no more. Conseil
could not draw a word from him; and fearing that, in a dreadful fit of
madness, he might kill himself, watched him with constant devotion.
One morning (what date it was I could not say), I had fallen into a
heavy sleep toward the early hours, a sleep both painful and
unhealthy, when I suddenly awoke. Ned Land was leaning over me,
saying, in a low voice, "We are going to fly."
    I sat up.
    "When shall we go?" I asked.
    "Tomorrow night. All inspection on board the Nautilus seems to
have ceased. All appear to be stupefied. You will be ready, Sir?"
    "Yes; where are we?"
    "In sight of land. I took the reckoning this morning in the fog-
twenty miles to the east."
    "What country is it?"
    "I do not know; but whatever it is, we will take refuge there."
    "Yes, Ned, yes. We will fly tonight, even if the sea should
swallow us up."
    "The sea is bad, the wind violent, but twenty miles in that
light boat of the Nautilus does not frighten me. Unknown to the
crew, I have been able to procure food and some bottles of water."
    "I will follow you."
    "But," continued the Canadian, "if I am surprised, I will defend
myself; I will force them to kill me."
    "We will die together, friend Ned."
    I had made up my mind to all. The Canadian left me. I reached
the platform, on which I could with difficulty support myself
against the shock of the waves. The sky was threatening; but, as
land was in those thick brown shadows, we must fly. I returned to
the saloon, fearing and yet hoping to see Captain Nemo, wishing and
yet not wishing to see him. What could I have said to him? Could I
hide the involuntary horror with which he inspired me? No. It was
better that I should not meet him face to face; better to forget
him. And yet how long seemed that day, the last that I should pass
in the Nautilus. I remained alone. Ned Land and Conseil avoided
speaking, for fear of betraying themselves. At six I dined, but I
was not hungry; I forced myself to eat in spite of my disgust, that
I might not weaken myself. At half-past six Ned Land came to my
room, saying, "We shall not see each other again before our departure.
At ten the moon will not be risen. We will profit by the darkness.
Come to the boat; Conseil and I will wait for you."
    The Canadian went out without giving me time to answer. Wishing to
verify the course of the Nautilus, I went to the saloon. We were
running N.N.E. at frightful speed, and more than fifty yards deep. I
cast a last look on these wonders of Nature, on the riches of art
heaped up in this museum, upon the unrivaled collection destined to
perish at the bottom of the sea, with him who had formed it. I
wished to fix an indelible impression of it in my mind. I remained
an hour thus, bathed in the light of that luminous ceiling, and
passing in review those treasures shining under their glasses. Then
I returned to my room.
    I dressed in strong sea clothing. I collected notes, placing
them carefully about me. My heart beat loudly. I could not check its
pulsations. Certainly my trouble and agitation would have betrayed
me to Captain Nemo's eyes. What was he doing at this moment? I
listened at the door of his room. I heard steps. Captain Nemo was
there. He had not gone to rest. At every moment I expected to see
him appear and ask me why I wished to fly. I was constantly on the
alert. My imagination magnified everything. The impression became at
last so poignant, that I asked myself if it would not be better to
go to the captain's room, see him face to face, and brave him with
look and gesture.
    It was the inspiration of a madman; fortunately I resisted the
desire, and stretched myself on my bed to quiet my bodily agitation.
My nerves were somewhat calmer, but in my excited brain I saw over
again all my existence on board the Nautilus; every incident, either
happy or unfortunate, which had happened since my disappearance from
the Abraham Lincoln- the submarine hunt, the Torres Straits, the
savages of Papua, the running ashore, the coral cemetery, the
passage of Suez, the island of Santorin, the Cretin diver, Vigo Bay,
Atlantis, the iceberg, the South Pole, the imprisonment in the ice,
the fight among the poulps, the storm in the Gulf Stream, the Avenger,
and the horrible scene of the vessel sunk with all her crew. All these
events passed before my eyes like scenes in a drama. Then Captain Nemo
seemed to grow enormously, his features to assume superhuman
proportions. He was no longer my equal, but a man of the waters, the
genie of the sea.
    It was then half-past nine. I held my head between my hands to
keep it from bursting. I closed my eyes; I would not think any longer.
There was another half hour to wait, another half hour of a nightmare,
which might drive me mad.
    At that moment I heard the distant strains of the organ, a sad
harmony to an undefinable chaunt, the wail of a soul longing to
break these earthly bonds. I listened with every sense, scarcely
breathing; plunged, like Captain Nemo, in that musical ecstasy which
was drawing him in spirit to the end of life.
    Then a sudden thought terrified me. Captain Nemo had left his
room. He was in the saloon, which I must cross to fly. There I
should meet him for the last time. He would see me, perhaps speak to
me. A gesture of his might destroy me, a single word chain me on
    But ten was about to strike. The moment had come for me to leave
my room, and join my companions.
    I must not hesitate, even if Captain Nemo himself should rise
before me. I opened my door carefully; and even then, as it turned
on its hinges, it seemed to me to make a dreadful noise. Perhaps it
only existed in my own imagination.
    I crept along the dark stairs of the Nautilus, stopping at each
step to check the beating of my heart. I reached the door of the
saloon, and opened it gently. It was plunged in profound darkness. The
strains of the organ sounded faintly. Captain Nemo was there. He did
not see me. In the full light I do not think he would have noticed me,
so entirely was he absorbed in the ecstasy.
    I crept along the carpet, avoiding the slightest sound which might
betray my presence. I was at least five minutes reaching the door,
at the opposite side, opening into the library.
    I was going to open it, when a sigh from Captain Nemo nailed me to
the spot. I knew that he was rising. I could even see him, for the
light from the library came through to the saloon. He came toward me
silently, with his arms crossed, gliding like a specter rather than
walking. His breast was swelling with sobs; and I heard him murmur
these words (the last which ever struck my ear):
    "Almighty God! enough! enough!"
    Was it a confession of remorse which thus escaped from this
man's conscience?
    In desperation, I rushed through the library, mounted the
central staircase, and following the upper flight reached the boat.
I crept through the opening, which had already admitted my two
    "Let us go! let us go!" I exclaimed.
    "Directly!" replied the Canadian.
    The orifice in the plates of the Nautilus was first closed, and
fastened down by means of a false key, with which Ned Land had
provided himself; the opening in the boat was also closed. The
Canadian began to loosen the bolts which still held us to the
submarine boat.
    Suddenly a noise within was heard. Voices were answering each
other loudly. What was the matter? Had they discovered our flight? I
felt Ned Land slipping a dagger into my hand.
    "Yes," I murmured, "we know how to die!"
    The Canadian had stopped in his work. But one word many times
repeated, a dreadful word, revealed the cause of the agitation
spreading on board the Nautilus. It was not we the crew were looking
    "The maelstrom! the maelstrom!" I exclaimed.
    The maelstrom! Could a more dreadful word in a more dreadful
situation have sounded in our ears! We were then upon the dangerous
coast of Norway. Was the Nautilus being drawn into this gulf at the
moment our boat was going to leave its sides? We knew that at the.
tide the pent-up waters between the islands of Ferroe and Loffoden
rush with irresistible violence, forming a whirlpool from which no
vessel ever escapes. From every point of the horizon enormous waves
were meeting, form a gulf justly called the "Navel of the Ocean,"
whose power of attraction extends to a distance of twelve miles.
There, not only vessels, but whales are sacrificed, as well as white
bears from the northern regions.
    It is thither that the Nautilus, voluntarily or involuntarily, had
been run by the Captain.
    It was describing a spiral, the circumference of which was
lessening by degrees, and the boat, which was still fastened to its
side, was carried along with giddy speed. I felt that sickly giddiness
which arises from long-continued whirling round.
    We were in dread. Our horror was at its height, circulation had
stopped, all nervous influence was annihilated, and we were covered
with cold sweat, like a sweat of agony! And what noise around our
frail bark! What roarings repeated by the echo miles away! What an
uproar was that of the waters broken on the sharp rocks at the bottom,
where the hardest bodies are crushed, and trees worn away, "with all
the fur rubbed off," according to the Norwegian phrase!
    What a situation to be in! We rocked frightfully. The Nautilus
defended itself like a human being. Its steel muscles cracked.
Sometimes it seemed to stand upright, and we with it!
    "We must hold on," said Ned, "and look after the bolts. We may
still be saved if we stick to the Nautilus"-
    He had not finished the words, when we heard a crashing noise, the
bolts gave way, and the boat, torn from its groove, was hurled like
a stone from a sling into the midst of the whirlpool.
    My head struck on a piece of iron, and with the violent shock I
lost all consciousness.
                         CHAPTER XXIII.


    THUS ends the voyage under the seas. What passed during that
night- how the boat escaped from the eddies of the maelstrom- how
Ned Land, Conseil, and myself ever came out of the gulf, I cannot
    But when I returned to consciousness, I was lying in a fisherman's
hut, on the Loffoden Isles. My two companions, safe and sound, were
near me holding my hands. We embraced each other heartily.
    At that moment we could not think of returning to France. The
means of communication between the north of Norway and the south are
rare. And I am therefore obliged to wait for the steamboat running
monthly from Cape North.
    And among the worthy people who have so kindly received us, I
revise my record of these adventures once more. Not a fact has been
omitted, not a detail exaggerated. It is a faithful narrative of
this incredible expedition in an element inaccessible to man, but to
which Progress will one day open a road.
    Shall I be believed? I do not know. And it matters little, after
all. What I now affirm is, that I have a right to speak of these seas,
under which, in less than ten months, I have crossed 20,000 leagues in
that submarine tour of the world, which has revealed so many wonders.
    But what has become of the Nautilus? Did it resist the pressure of
the maelstrom? Does Captain Nemo still live? And does he still
follow under the ocean those frightful retaliations? Or, did he stop
after that last hecatomb?
    Will the waves one day carry to him this manuscript containing the
history of his life? Shall I ever know the name of this man? Will
the missing vessel tell us by its nationality that of Captain Nemo?
    I hope so. And I also hope that his powerful vessel has
conquered the sea at its most terrible gulf, and that the Nautilus has
survived where so many other vessels have been lost! If it be so- if
Captain Nemo still inhabits the ocean, his adopted country, may hatred
be appeased in that savage heart! May the contemplation of so many
wonders extinguish forever the spirit of vengeance! May the judge
disappear, and the philosopher continue the peaceful exploration of
the sea! If his destiny be strange, it is also sublime. Have I not
understood it myself? Have I not lived ten months of this unnatural
life? And to the question asked by Ecclesiastes 3,000 years ago, "That
which is far off and exceeding deep, who can find it out?" two men
alone of all now living have the right to give an answer-

                             THE END